McKayla Maroney

McKayla Maroney Recalls Trying to ‘Survive' 2012 Olympics Amid Abuse ‘From Many Angles'

US gymnast McKayla Maroney competes on uneven bars during the 44th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp on October 2, 2013.
JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

McKayla Maroney is opening up about how she connects with Britney Spears on a personal level.

The illustrious Olympian took to Instagram on Monday, July 26, to shine a light on her story as a survivor of abuse after previously accusing team doctor Larry Nassar of molesting her from the time she was 13 years old.

"From my experience speaking up about abuse is extremely exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally," she began her caption. "From a young age I was taught to work hard, and persevere."

The 25-year-old star explained that she's naturally "a positive, bubbly person," which is why she said, "calling out abusers, and dwelling on all the dark negative pieces of my past felt extremely wrong for me."

"I hated the depressing tone my life took on, and how the media portrayed me," she shared. "I never wanted to be seen as a victim, I just wanted Larry Nassar in jail, and the people who enabled the abuse to be held accountable."

2020 Tokyo Olympics

She added, "I wanted to MOVE ON, and go back to being myself, but I needed to learn the power of my voice, boundaries, and WHEN to be resilient."

The former Team USA gymnast then described how "Britney's story resonates with me so much."

As she explained, "just like Britney, I also had to 'fake it till you make it' to survive my 2012 Olympics. I was just trying to accomplish my dream, but I had abuse coming at me from many angles that I didn't understand how to process at 15. I had to suppress it, and I had to minimize it, just to get through the day."

Additionally, McKayla claimed the "media is hugely to blame" for the pop star's current situation as she fights for her freedom amid her conservatorship battle.

She argued, "To this day media bullies celebrities, and athletes with dramatic click bait stories and false reports, for their benefit."

The retired athlete also took a moment to applaud the "Circus" singer for recently testifying in court and asking a Los Angeles judge to end her conservatorship.

"I'm so proud of Britney for speaking out," McKayla expressed. "She deserves to spend the rest of her life healing in peace, or doing whatever she wants. The people who control her are criminals, and abusers, just like USA gymnastics, and the USOC used me and their athletes for money, but didn't care to protect us."

In 2017, McKayla publicly accused Larry of abusing her.

Members of the "Fierce Five," including Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber, as well as at least 265 other women, came forward as survivors of the former U.S. gymnastics doctor's abuse.

The disgraced physician is currently serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty, in separate cases, to seven counts of sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

As for Britney? The Princess of Pop recently filed a petition to replace her father, Jamie Spears, as her conservator, per documents obtained by E! News. The award-winning musician said she will attend her next court hearing on Dec. 13.

Copyright E! Online
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