The Olympic gold medalist spoke publicly about her abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar for the first time Tuesday at a luncheon for The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  

In an interview with Dr. Mary Pulido, executive director of NYSPCC, Maroney said that since coming to terms with her abuse, there are days when she nearly rethinks her gymnastics career.

“I, at times, question if my gymnastics career was really even worth it, because of the stuff that I’m dealing with now,” she told Pulido and the guests, including Katie Couric and journalist Deborah Norville. “Sometimes you’re just left in the dust, and you have to pick up the pieces of your life. That has been the hardest part for me, but it’s always three steps forward, two steps back. And the one thing gymnastics did teach me was: when you fall, you gotta get back up.”

Maroney told the NYSPCC members that she had to use flash cards to help guide her as she answered questions. “I haven’t spoken yet, and in my whole gymnastics career I was trained to be quiet,” she began.

“We know that Larry was a monster, and learning from everything that has come out, I never should have met him,” she continued. “And the thing is, U.S.A. Gymnastics, M.S.U., and the U.S.O.C. continued to look away to protect their reputations. All they cared about was money, medals, and it didn’t seem like anything else. They demanded excellence from me, but they couldn’t give it to us.”

Maroney said that she often felt fear about speaking out, but that “fear turns to fearlessness” when she realized how many people she would be helping.

“Within the gymnastics world, there’s no question we need to rebuild so that this never happens again. I definitely see a future where athletes are safe and succeeding, and I think this next generation is gonna be even stronger with everything that we’re doing . . . my team won gold medals in spite of U.S.A. Gymnastics, M.S.U., and the U.S.O.C., and they don’t build champions, they break them. But we’re changing that.”