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McKayla Maroney says she was forced to compete with a broken foot in the 2012 Olympics, claiming Larry Nassar lied to the coach about the injury

·3-min read
mckayla maroney olympics
McKayla Maroney at the 2012 London Olympics. Ronald Martinez/Getty
  • McKayla Maroney said in an Instagram Story that her foot was broken at the 2012 London Olympics.

  • Maroney said Larry Nassar lied to the US women's gymnastics coach to downplay the injury.

  • USA Gymnastics told Insider it recognized "how deeply we have broken the trust of our athletes."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

McKayla Maroney, a former Team USA gymnast and Olympic medalist, said on Sunday in Instagram Story videos that she was forced to compete at the London Olympics on a broken foot after Larry Nassar lied to the coach about the injury.

In light of the Tokyo Olympics vault final on Sunday, Maroney, who won a silver medal in the event in London, tweeted that she wanted to share "the behind the scenes of what ACTUALLY goes down during the Olympic Gymnastics event finals (specifically vault finals)."

"I think a lot of people don't understand how terrible it's set up for the athletes," Maroney said.

On Instagram, Maroney said Nassar, the former US women's gymnastics team doctor who in 2018 was sentenced to 175 years in prison, knew that her foot was broken around the time of the 2012 Olympics but hid it from the team's coach. Nassar was convicted of charges of child pornography and sexual assault of minors after hundreds of women - including Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles - accused him of sexual abuse.

"You guys know I competed on the Olympic team as a vaulter. I also came in ready for floor, but as soon as I got to London I broke my foot," Maroney said.

McKayla Maroney in a screenshot of her Instagram story (left). Maroney in 2012 (right) at the US Team Olympic trials.
Maroney in her Instagram Story on Sunday and at the Olympic trials in 2012. @mckaylamaroney/Instagram; Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

She said that in the past she "would never blame anyone" for the foot injury, saying she felt like it was her "body's fault." But now, Maroney said, she believes her broken foot was a result of coach Márta Károlyi's having the team start training soon after arriving in London. Maroney said Károlyi had her complete three balance-beam routines even though she was jet-lagged and wasn't competing in the event.

"And that's when I broke my foot, on the beam, because I was dizzy as hell," Maroney said in the video. "Like, I felt terrible. I looked at my coach before my beam routine and was like, 'Really? You're going to make me get on this thing right now? I feel like s—!'"

mckayla maroney.JPG
Maroney on the vault in 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

During the 2012 Olympics, multiple reports said Maroney's toe, not her foot, was broken. The New York Times reported that Károlyi had denied that it was broken, saying Maroney's toe was "bruised" and "strained."

Maroney said in her video that Nassar knew about her broken foot but lied to Károlyi, telling her that it wasn't broken. Maroney added that Nassar "was the one who helped with the X-rays and passed along the information."

Maroney said that competing at the Olympics with her injury was "risking the rest" of her gymnastics career. Following the London Olympics, she said, she had a successful "miracle surgery" on her foot.

Li Li Leung, the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, told Insider in a statement: "We recognize how deeply we have broken the trust of our athletes and community, and are working hard to build that trust back. Everything we do now is aimed at creating a safe, inclusive, and positive culture for everyone who participates in our sport. And while we know that this kind of meaningful and lasting culture change does not happen overnight, we will keep working toward that goal until every member feels supported, included, safe and empowered."

Representatives for Maroney did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Video: Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi rates Hollywood gymnastics stunts

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