Not Your Usual Watch Party!: Athlete A

Date / Time

March 12, 2021 - March 12, 2021

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Categories

Bring your lunch and join WLRC’s Campus Advocacy Network to watch excerpts from Athlete A and discuss issues related to gender-based violence.

Register to receive Zoom link!

CART live captioning will be provided. Please send questions or additional accommodation requests to adacheng@uic.edu.

 

About the film:

Maggie Nichols devoted most of her life to being on the national gymnastics team. Like other Olympic hopefuls, she’d given up almost everything to achieve this goal. She was on the road to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But her dream was shattered after she reported being sexually abused by USA Gymnastics (USAG) team doctor Larry Nassar, the allegedly caring physician and pillar of his suburban community.

Also in 2016, a team of Indianapolis Star journalists—Mark Alesia, Tim Evans, and Marisa Kwiatkowski—reported on a story in which predatory gymnastics coaches had been moved from gym to gym, but never charged with a crime. Their story revealed that USAG protected coaches, and often broke the law by failing to report allegations of abuse to authorities. Former competitive gymnast Rachael Denhollander read the explosive Indianapolis Star article and thought “Now’s the time.” She called The Indianapolis Star about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Larry Nassar. National Rhythmic gymnastics champion Jessica Howard read the same article and also called the newspaper with a similar account of abuse by Nassar. Yet another gymnast, Olympian Jamie Dantzcher, spoke to her attorney who also contacted The Indianapolis Star regarding her Nassar allegations.

Meanwhile, reporters wondered: If there were three Nassar victims contacting the newspaper, how many more could there be?

Turns out many many more: at least 500 reported thus far, including 9 Olympians. In training its lens on athletes vying for a coveted spot on the American Olympic team, as well as junior gymnasts coming up the ranks, Athlete A investigates systemic abuse and institutionalized corruption within the world of gymnastics.

Athlete A spotlights the horrific sexual abuse of hundreds of young athletes by USAG team doctor Larry Nassar, and shines an even brighter light on the team of individuals working to hold USA Gymnastics and Lassar Nassar accountable. The Indianapolis Star reporters who broke the story and revealed the cover-up that occurred at the highest levels of the Olympic sport. The courageous group of survivors—Nichols, Denhollander, Dantzscher and Howard–who bravely fought the system. Together with a team of other determined women,including—police detective Lt. Andrea Munford and prosecuting attorney Angela Povilaitis— truth prevailed. Justice was served. Nichols was able to find joy in the sport again—at the college level.

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