Nassar Case Casts Shadow over Gymnastics Community

SACRAMENTO -- It’s a sport known for its grace, agility and strength. Recently, however, gymnastics has been shrouded by a dark shadow.

A shadow cast by former U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar.

"You lied to me and manipulated me to think when you treated me you were closing your eyes because you had been working hard. When really you were touching me, an innocent child to pleasure yourself,” said former U.S. Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman inside a Michigan Circuit Courthouse last week, addressing Nassar.

Wednesday, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years behind bars for 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct. More than 150 women came forward to read statements in court, all claiming Nassar had sexually abused them.

"They put all their trust in us as a coach. When you see it taken away like that, it's just a black eye,” said Randy Solorio, the gymnastics coach at Sacramento State.

Today Solorio says he felt a mix of emotions, happy that justice has been carried out yet upset that one man has had such a detrimental effect on a sport he loves.

"This has nothing to do with the sport whatsoever. It has to do with an individual who is twisted and demented,” said Solorio.

Wednesday, Solorio’s athletes say they're thinking about Nassar's victims. Those victims include Olympians they've looked up to.

"I think it's just sad they had to go through that, but also looking at it now, I'm really proud to be a part of a community of such strong women,” said Courteney Ng, a Sacramento State gymnast.

Ng and Courtney Soliwoda have been competing in gymnastics for years. Both are seniors on Sac State’s team. They say it took courage for victims to come forward and face Nassar, and both say they learned to be courageous on the mat.

"Pushing through injuries, pushing through fears. It kind of teaches you how to face your fears... [Nassar’s victims] are strong enough to face the fears of Larry Nassar and say, you know what, you don't run my life." Said Soliwoda.

Larry Nassar was affiliated with the gymnastics program at Michigan State University. The Michigan state legislature called on University President Lou Anna Simon to resign because of a failure of accountability over the Nassar scandal. Thursday multiple news outlets citing university officials say Simon plans to announce her resignation Thursday.