Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said Wednesday she didn't attend Larry Nassar's sentencing because she didn't think she was "emotionally ready for that."
Biles told CNN that she didn't want to see Nassar at his sentencing because she needed "to be in a good place" in her gymnastics practice, especially since she plans to complete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"If I went there I think it would take me back, and I'm trying to move forward," she said during her interview with CNN.
— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) January 31, 2018
More than 150 women, including Aly Raisman, Biles' teammate during the 2016 Summer Olympics, told their stories of sexual abuse during Nassar's multi-day sentencing hearing last week. While Biles didn't attend, she shared her feelings about the proceedings on social media, calling the judge, who sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison, a hero.
On the same day as Biles' media appearances, another sentencing hearing began for Nassar. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of sexual assault across two Michigan counties, and while his punishment for the bulk of those charges has been decided, the sentencing this week is related to three remaining charges. Dozens of women are expected to testify against him once again.
Biles said she was in denial about Nassar's assault at first, and during an interview with Megyn Kelly on the Today show, she said she initially told her parents that she hadn't been molested. Thinking about the abuse made her angry, and that she didn't want to discuss it with others, she explained.
As competitors, she said, she and her fellow gymnasts could "compartmentalize things" and managed to "kind of push it in the back of our heads because we don't want anyone to think of that."
"No, it couldn't happen to me, there's just no way," Biles said she originally thought during her interview with Kelly, "And then you come to realize that it has happened, and I think that's when I broke down about it."
Biles first spoke out about Nassar's abuse on social media. On Jan. 15, she posted a statement to Twitter, noting that she was originally "reluctant to share" her experience as a survivor, but seeing her teammates come forward with their stories encouraged her to do the same.
She told CNN that the #MeToo movement especially affected her: "I think it's very inspiring and very empowering, especially for other girls who have gone through these situations, to realize it's not the end of the world if you speak out and there will be people in your corner supporting you no matter what."
During another segment of Today, Biles told Hoda Kotb that she was happy with Nassar's maximum sentence and once again praised the judge who handed it down, Rosemarie Aquilina.
"I was very happy," Biles said. "I wish she would have 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, adding that she appreciated how Aquilina "gave it to him [Nassar] straight and didn't let him get any power over any of the girls."
In addition to Nassar's sentence, Biles wants to see a full investigation into USA Gymnastics, and how the organization enabled decades of abuse. The Olympic Committee has already announced an independent investigation. USA Gymnastics' new president, Kerry Perry, recently met Biles "to introduce herself," but they didn't talk about Nassar during their meeting.
Biles criticized the fact that other than meeting Perry, neither USA Gymnastics nor the U.S. Olympic Committee has discussed Nassar with her.
"As one of their top athletes advocating for [not] only for gymnastics but Olympics and all of that, I think it's kind of crazy."
However, she told CNN that the resignation of the entire USA Gymnastics board is a start.
"I think change needs to happen," Biles told CNN, "I think there just needs to be further investigation to see why this happened for so long ... starting fresh is a good start."
Nassar was also sentenced to 60 years after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges in December.