Imagine your young, little, daughter, told you she wanted to be a gymnast. Think about all of the drives you made to the gymnastic center, proudly, inconveniently, to support your daughter.
After mastering the car wheels and the two foot-high balance beam, hand springs and a flip, your daughter comes to you with that look in her eyes, and says, “I want to win a gold medal at the Olympics.”
She spent hours watching the pint-sized, muscled, gymnasts, walk into the stadium of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Yes, plural on the ceremonies, because she has watched them over and over. In her mind’s eye, she sees herself walking proudly into the arena and performing a perfect balance beam routine, having the crowd gasp with awe at her skills on the floor exercise, feel herself fly skyward doing a perch vault, and making those uneven parallel bars looks like a piece of pizza.
And you,her parent, perhaps with other children and already having a tight budget, and are pulled in every direction, succumbs to the pleas and desires of the dream of your daughter.
You get a second mortgage, work overtime, eat on the run, make other children’s dreams a bit secondary, (it happens), and live the next fifteen years, exhausted, financially strapped, and wondering what happened to our family life … especially after your prodigal child, (or not so prodigal, but earnest), is sent to gymnastic’s camps to get the best training, possible. You might even let your child move in with another family is some other town or state, so that that Olympic dream has a better chance of being fulfilled.
And your daughter takes her stuffed animals with her because she is a child. She counts on adults to do right. She, and you, count on the organizations that control the training of future Olympic athletes, to be moral, ethical and act in the best interest of their participants.
Your daughter fulfills her part. She misses school events, many life events, family meals, to practice, often with blistered hands, sore muscles and a tired psyche.
Your daughter reaches at least a certain level of her goal. She makes the Olympic team and you are proud as punch. Life doesn’t get any better. Lookout Olympics, y’all are on your way.
And then, after all of this … years of life spent chasing a dream, you find out that part of your daughter’s life was a nightmare.
You find out that your daughter, your child, has been sexually assaulted. Not by some unknown, random, stranger, but by a doctor who is hired by the organization you thought had your daughter’s best interest at heart.
Your daughter is a mess. The trophies and medals she has accumulated, don’t help how she is feeling. They don’t replace what that damn, sponsored, doctor took away … her innocence and trust.
Your heart is broken. How could this happen? And then, you find out your daughter not only wasn’t alone, she was simply one of many, hundreds.
After dealing with your broken daughter, you ask that big question … not why … we know why. There are sick bastards. But, how? How could this go on for so long, with so many girls, and no one know about it or step in to stop it?
Something smells fishy in Denmark. And here.
That is what a couple of hundred parents are going through. The Olympic dream has blown up. No one watched out for your daughter. No one stopped this heinous act. Finger-pointing and arm’s length associations begin. Some people run for the hills. I didn’t know. No one said anything to me.
Then forms of the truth come out.
These young girls, on the cusp of adulthood, have learned a really stinky lesson of life. Some people are evil. Talk is cheap. And many people can’t be trusted.
Welcome to the world.
And the Olympics will go on. The cheaters will still cheat with their doping, and mask of propriety and grandeur of “sport”.
But how can we, the public, watch these ‘games’, knowing that we are being manipulated into believing that everything about it is clean and hunky dory and winning the gold for your country, has been sullied by pulling back the curtain. What is behind that curtain are some athletes whose countries want them to win so badly, that they sponsor doping and other banned activities … and instead of being valued and protected, some of our athletes, our daughters, are being preyed upon by people who do not have their best interests at heart?
I have a feeling, a sneaky suspicion, that if the curtain on the training, organizations, politics and some of the people involved in the Olympics, were pulled back further, what we would see might make us ill.
It isn’t about athletes, it is about money. It is about politics. And because of Nassar, it has become about a predator.