“I should quit before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar worked in the media for two years. That’s too much. But I won’t let him accept what I have been working for since I was six.
“I won’t let him take that happiness from me. So as long as my mind and body allow it, I will overcome it.”
Byers before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the FBI’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse against Naxal and three other gymnasts-McKayla Maroni, Ali Reisman and Maggie Nichols- -They were all survivors of Naxal’s sexual abuse when they testified.
The allegations against the former American gymnastics doctor were first submitted to the FBI in July 2015, but the Justice Department’s inspector general reported that the agency “failed to respond to Nassar in the most serious and urgent way they deserved and requested. He made a fundamental mistake in responding and violated many FBI policies.”
Byers’ emotional testimony saw the gymnast accusing “the whole system of making his abuse possible and perpetuating it”.
‘I woke up-lost it’
Byers explained the twists and turns that led to her immediate withdrawal from the team and four individual finals.
Byers lost her sense of direction inexplicably. She revealed that she “never changed her opinion so quickly, from wanting to be on the podium to being able to go home alone without crutches.”
“If I still have my air awareness, and I just had a bad day, I will continue. But not only that.
“Speaking of you being 30 years old, your vision is complete. One morning, when you wake up, you can’t see sh*t, but people tell you to continue doing your daily work as if you still have your vision,” Byers explained.
“You will get lost, won’t you? This is the only thing I can connect it to. I have been doing gymnastics for 18 years. I woke up-lost it. How can I continue my day?”
The death of her aunt compounded her struggles, and she passed away “accidentally” while Byers was competing in Japan.
Although she endured everything, Byers managed to leave Tokyo, which proved her determination-in the balance beam finals, she had a total of seven Olympic medals and won a bronze medal.
“In order to bring up the topic of mental health, I think we should talk more about it, especially with athletes, because I know some of us are going through the same thing and we are always told to stick to it,” Byers Tell the reporter after she won third place.
In a performance in San Francisco tonight, Byers led a team of all-star athletes across 35 cities across the United States to celebrate women’s sports and inspire a new generation of gymnasts.
“I like gymnastics and want to help create a show that celebrates the sheer fun of performing,” Bills said, according to the tour’s official website.
The final performance is scheduled for November 7th in Boston.
CNN’s Christina Carrega, Evan Perez, and Devan Cole contributed to this report.