Biles wins 5th US title
Dresses ‘for survivors’
BOSTON (AP) — The color choice wasn’t a coincidence. It was a statement. One Simone Biles felt compelled to make even as the organization she competes for struggles to find a compassionate and compelling message to sexual abuse survivors.
The Olympic champion designed the leotard she wore while winning her fifth US women’s gymnastics title Sunday, all the way down to the light shade of teal. It’s the designated color for survivors of sexual abuse, a group that includes Biles, who revealed in January she was among the victims of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
“(The color) is for the survivors,” Biles said after becoming the first woman in 24 years to post the top score on every event on her way to a national championship. “I stand with all of them and I think it’s kind of special to unite (people).”
The 21-year-old came up with the idea eight months ago, long before she knew how her comeback following a post-Olympic break would go. In the end, it simultaneously served as a beacon to her otherworldly gymnastics while also highlighting the need to keep the Nassar victims at the forefront.
It’s a balance USA Gymnastics can’t seem to locate. Biles’ electric performance came hours after USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry spent 22 minutes talking around the fallout of the Nassar scandal without offering much in the way of substance in her first extended public comments since taking over last December.
Perry danced around the question when asked if the organization planned to do anything specific to honor the survivors. Ultimately, USA Gymnastics did not, though Perry said she envisions a day when the organization and the victims stand “side by side.”