Olympic gymnast Simone Biles praised the “hero” judge who presided over Larry Nassar’s recent criminal sentencing for sexual abuse — but she did have one complaint.
“I wish she would have just given him like a crazy number, like 3,000 years or something. But other than that, she was a boss and she was absolutely amazing,” Biles said of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who sentenced Nassar last week to 40 to 175 years in prison.
In an emotional interview Wednesday with the “Today” show, Biles talked about how she was able to win four gold medals at the 2016 Olympics, even while dealing with abuse from Nassar.
“I think we’re very good at compartmentalizing things, and so we just kind of push it in the back of our heads because we don’t want anyone to think of that or we don’t want ourselves to think of that,” Biles said.
“So once we go out there, we go out with full heart and compete, because that’s what we love to do, and represent our country.”
Biles is one of a number of famous American gymnasts who were sexually abused by Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, for nearly two decades. Nassar admitted in court to using his trusted position to abuse young girls under the guise of medical treatment.
Biles posted a powerful note about Nassar to Twitter as well as criticism of USA Gymnastics, but she did not speak out in court at Nassar’s sentencing over the past two weeks.
Still, she praised the judge for her emphasis on the victims and their stories.
“I think it’s very hard for someone to go through what I’ve gone through recently, and it’s very hard to talk about,” Biles said on “Today,” tearing up.
“The judge is my hero just because she gave it to him straight and didn’t let him get any power over any of the girls, and letting the girls go and speak was very powerful,” she added.
Biles said she has met with USA Gymnastics CEO Kerry Perry but otherwise hasn’t heard from the US Olympic Committee.
“I think it’s kind of crazy, but hopefully they’ll reach out,” she said.
More than 150 women, including fellow gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, spoke out in court against Nassar at his sentencing in Ingham County, Michigan.
He also was sentenced to 60 years for federal child pornography charges earlier, and he is in court Wednesday in Eaton County, Michigan, to face dozens more of his victims.