Maggie Nichols was the 4th child and first-born girl to Gina and John Nichols of Little Canada, Minnesota. She always had a lot of energy and her mother, who was a fan of gymnastics, decided to enroll her in the sport when she was still in pre-school.
Athlete A, a Netflix original documentary directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Schenk, tells the story of Maggie and many other gymnasts who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of coaches and more specifically, Dr. Larry Nassar, team doctor for USA Gymnastics for 29 years.
Maggie excelled at gymnastics. She had a natural talent and was the only 10-year-old at Nationals in 2007. She gained the attention of Bela and Martha Karolyi, famed Hungarian coaches who defected to the United States in 1981 and began coaching the US Women’s Gymnastics Team.
Athlete A is not an easy watch, but it is an important one. At times both shameful and sad, it shows what adults were willing to overlook to win and to bring gold to the United States.
Centering on the staff at the Indianapolis Star, a small local paper, who’s investigative team including Investigations Editor Steve Berta, and Investigative Reporters Marisa Kwiatowski and Mark Alesia, we see how the team broke the story.
In 2016, Kwiatkowski was working on a story about the failures to report sexual abuse in schools when a source pointed her in the direction of a lawsuit brought up against a predatory coach in the gymnastics community who, once accused, rather than being removed, was just relocated to another gym.
The investigative team got a copy of the deposition where it was indicated that USA Gymnastics had been warned about this coach and did nothing. The story entitled “A Blind Eye” went to print while the USA Olympic Team competed for gold during the 2016 Rio Olympics, bringing the interest in gymnastics and the team itself to an all-time high.
Seeing a link on Facebook for the story, former USA Gymnastics gymnast Rachel Denhollander realized what she knew as the truth, that USAG had been burying sexual abuse occurring under their watch for years.
Denhollander reached out to the Indy Star and told them that she was a victim, but that her abuse had not come at the hands of a coach, but by team doctor Larry Nassar. Jessica Howard, another former gymnast, also reached out to the news team with the same story.
Attorney John Manly of Manly, Stewart and Finaldi got a call, this one from former gymnast Jamie Dantzscher after she read the story. He reached out to the Indy Star team and mentioned that his client was implicating Dr. Nassar and USAG.
The team at Indy Star began to wonder if there were three different women who didn’t know each other and had the same story, how many more could there be?
Dr. Larry Nassar, along with being the team doctor for USAG, was also a Michigan State University doctor, seeing athletes and students from that school.
During training in 2015 at the Karolyi’s camp in Huntsville, Texas, coach Sarah Jantzi overheard Maggie and another athlete discussing Nassar and how Maggie found some of his techniques disturbing. Vaginal entry with his fingers during one particular treatment was brought up and the fellow athlete confirmed that he did that to her as well.
Jantzi spoke to Maggie and got the information and immediately reached out to Maggie’s parents. She also brought the information to the attention of Rhonda Gaehn, the Vice President of the USA Gymnastics Women’s program.
The next day, President of USA Gymnastics Steve Penny called Maggie’s mother and promised her that he would report the incident to the police. Maggie remained at training with the promise to her parents that Nassar would be handled.
Almost a month later, Maggie’s parent had not heard anything but were told they now were to speak to investigator Fran Sefler. Penny told them there was an ongoing FBI Investigation.
As Maggie’s parents pushed for information, Maggie was suddenly removed from events like appearing in a commercial with fellow gymnast Simone Biles. During the Olympic trials, Maggie’s parents weren’t treated like the other parents. No cameras, no reserved seats, and although Maggie finished 6th in competition, she was not among those picked for the five-member team or even as one of the three alternates.
Former USAG gymnasts describe a “fine line between coaching and child abuse” happening at the Karolyi camp and of being “beaten down” to the point where when you are abused, you think you are imagining it.
Nassar was described by many of the gymnasts and the only one that was nice to them at the camp, with some abuse sufferers even looking forward to the treatments because he was the only one that seemed to be concerned about them.
The Indy Star team knew that USAG was aware of the abuse, but how much did they know and did they work to cover it up? They found evidence of USAG knowing and working to hide the information from the very start.
After releasing a story on the reports of Nassar’s abuse, Michigan State University Police received more than two dozen reports of abut at the hands of Nassar.
Investigator Andrea Munford of the Michigan State University Police and Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Angel Povilaitis began gathering information for prosecution.
After being fired from Michigan State, it was reported that Nassar was treating patients out of his basement of his home and abusing again. With that information, a search warrant was obtained for his home and hard drives containing more than 37,000 pieces of child pornography.
In 2016 Nassar was arrested and charged with the most serious of the cases.
In November of 2017, Nassar agreed to a plea deal on the child pornography, destroying evidence and other charges. As part of the plea deal, survivors of the abuse could make impact statements. Impact statements began in January 2018. Many women came forward and gave their statements.
Nassar was convicted and is serving two 60-year terms.
The Indy Star was not done, nor was Manly. USAG covered the abuse and allowed it to happen. It was also found that during the FBI Investigation, Penny was discussing the opportunity for security positions within USAG with assigned FBI investigators.
A senate hearing was held in June 2018 on the Olympic athlete abuse and what USAG knew. Penny, who was removed from his position in 2017, was called to testify. He exercised his Fifth Amendment rights and would not answer any questions.
Penny was later arrested in October 2018 at a cabin in Tennessee, accused of tampering with the evidence against Nassar.
The Karolyi’s closed the training ranch in Texas in January 2018.
The US Department of Justice is currently investigating USAG, the US Olympic Committee and the FBI for its handing of the sexual abuse accusations.
Maggie has continued competing, now at the university level for the University of Oklahoma. She and her team won the National Championships in 2018. Maggie won the all-around at the 2019 NCAA Championships.
The Indy Star continues to cover the story.
Athlete A recalls the 2015 Academy Award winning move Spotlight about the Boston Globe investigative team who broke the story of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Boston Catholic Diocese. It is hard to watch but important to see.
Viewers will be shocked that this continues to happen, everywhere, even to our most celebrated athletes.
Athlete A gives us an example of why investigative journalism and the news media in general needs to be protected, so that stories like the abuse in the USAG and the Catholic Church are brought to the public’s attention.
When Is Season 3 of ‘Ginny and Georgia’ Coming Out?
Ginny & Georgia centers on the heartwarming yet extremely complicated bond between a mother and her daughter after they put down roots in a New England town.
With so many compelling storylines and incredible characters of all ages, it’s no wonder that the coming-of-age drama has become a fan favorite among Netflix audiences.
And that’s why fans can get excited as the streaming giant renewed the series for two additional seasons—yes, that’s right, season 3 and 4 are officially happening.
The cast of the series took to Instagram to announce the good news:
View this post on Instagram
The second season of Ginny & Georgia premiered on Jan. 5, 2023, which means that a third season is likely far off, especially considering Brianne Howey, who plays Georgia, just announced her first pregnancy, which will possibly delay filming.
View this post on Instagram
As for a premiere date, well, there isn’t one just yet. With the writers’ strike ongoing, it may be a bit before production begins so it’s difficult to come up with a date for new episodes. The season could likely arrive in February 2024 if we’re looking at the previous premieres for both seasons 1 and 2, which both debuted at the start of 2021 and 2023, respectively.
But with Howey’s pregnancy thrown into the mix and the writers’ strike, that could delay things a bit, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing if the series returned during the summer when there’s a lull in content and fans are seeking out something to binge-watch and get invested in.
You can also see more of our content about the final seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Riverdale, and Firefly Lane!
Who Is Rhys Montrose on ‘YOU’ Season 4?
YOU Season 4 introduced a plethora of new characters as it revamped the series with a murder mystery format.
*Warning – stop reading if you haven’t finished YOU Season 4 – Spoilers Ahead *
The shakeup made sense considering Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) uprooted his life following the fiery events in Madre Linda that killed Love Quinn and started over in London, assuming the identity of Professor Jonathan Moore.
Rather quickly, he got pulled into an elite group thanks to his co-worker and neighbor, Malcolm Harding (Stephen Hagan), who was the season’s first victim. Joe/Jonathan naturally despised Malcolm’s group, though he did find Rhys Montrose (Ed Speleers), an author running for Mayor of London, to be a bit of a kindred spirit. They came from the same broken background and shared many of the same views.
As the first half of the season unraveled, Joe sought out advice from Rhys on a handful of occasions, engaging in plenty of long heart-to-hearts with him, so it was kind of shocking when it was revealed that Rhys, as audiences have come to know him, was never real.
Rhys Montrose existed, yes, but he was never friends with Joe, nor was he the Eat the Rich Killer. The version of Rhys that Joe bonded with was a hallucination conjured up by his subconscious to protect himself and eliminate his darker, more deranged thoughts.
For much of the season, we saw Joe desperately trying to set himself free from Rhys’ grasp. At first, he saw him as public enemy #1, who somehow figured out Joe’s real identity and roped him into a murder spree by threatening to frame him for the deaths if Joe refused to participate.
However, once Joe realized that Rhys was a figment of his imagination, he began to look for ways to silence the evil little voice forever, while also trying to figure out a plan to cover up the death of the real Rhys Montrose.
Joe was tasked with killing the mayoral candidate, who he assumed at the time was the Eat the Rich Killer, by Kate’s (Charlotte Ritchie) father, Tom Lockwood. When he arrived at Rhys’ secret countryside hideout and tied him up, he was infuriated that Rhys claimed not to know who he was, nor would he admit to kidnapping Marienne (Tati Gabrielle). Eventually, Joe’s rage and anger took over, and he “accidentally” killed Rhys, which is when fake Rhys showed up and revealed that Joe was having a semi-psychotic break.
In the end, Joe’s suicide attempt ensured that his hallucinations were forever gone, though he did embrace the darkness he was trying so hard to snuff out, making him more dangerous than ever.
As for the real Rhys Montrose’s killer, he pinned it all on poor Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman), a fan of Rhys’s from the beginning, who flew too close to the sun in her attempts to bring down Joe Goldberg. If only she just listened to Marienne’s advice.
A huge congrats to the YOU team for pulling off yet another jaw-dropping twist, and to both Badgley and Speleers for completely immersing themselves in their dual characters.
YOU Review – Best of Friends (406)
Just when you thought you figured out where the season was headed, YOU pulls out the rug from under you yet again.
I’m definitely starting to feel the whiplash that Joe/Jonathan must be feeling right about now.
Things have gone from crazy to crazier rather quickly, as Rhys unveiled his true plan—along with how Joe is involved—while Joe came out victorious in front of the elite group once again, and all while a new suspect started piecing things together and realizing that Joe knows way more than he’s led on.
While Joe spent numerous hours trying to figure out a plan to get close to Rhys, Rhys just appeared at Joe’s place one night without so much as lifting a finger. Joe may think he’s the invisible one in the city, but for a man who’s so well-known and loved, Rhys seems to get around without anyone noticing.
And he made the rules of the game very clear—either Joe finds someone to frame for all the deaths or he goes down as the Eat-the-Rich killer, which isn’t exactly ideal. A little incentive goes a long way, so while Joe tried to distance himself initially, he couldn’t shake the desire for self-preservation and took the bait. He took the task rather seriously as it was either kill or be killed; he knew someone had to go down for it, but it had to be the right person.
With time running out, he genuinely began to consider Connie, but despite being an irrelevant character, he couldn’t justify pinning it on someone who was struggling with addiction and trying to turn their life around. Connie wasn’t a threat to anyone, except for maybe himself, so Joe couldn’t justify destroying his life.
But Dawn, well, she fell right into his lap. The few times we saw her snapping photos of the elite, and focusing on Joe–including when she spotted him at Rhys’ mayoral rally—I was convinced that she recognized him from his previous life. And that seems to be what the series wanted me to think so that they could pull a fast one on us because when Dawn pulled Phoebe aside to a “safe room” to keep her protected from the killer, it was revealed that Dawn was just an obsessive stalker who was connived that she was friends with the elite, Phoebe in particular. Dawn was a threat to a lot of people, so Joe took advantage of it. He framed her by planting Simon’s ear in her belongings, and since no one would ever believe a word she said over Phoebe’s accounts of what happened, Dawn couldn’t prove her innocence. Plus, she made an ideal suspect since she was at nearly every single event where a murder occurred as she was stalking the group. I mean, it couldn’t have been any more perfect if Joe had tried to plan it himself.
However, his heroics did raise some questions from Nadia, his student and the lover of all murder mysteries. She noticed that Jonathan seemed to be at the center of every single scenario, oftentimes being championed as a hero, though he’s not actually connected to any of these people in any meaningful way. It’s a dangerous thing to play detective, especially when you’re setting your sights on Joe Goldberg. Jonathan seems to like Nadia, but if she threatened him, I don’t think Joe would hesitate to take her down. Self-preservation is his M.O., remember?
Once Joe thought he finally got Rhys off of his back by framing Dawn, he decided to give into his desires and pursue a relationship with Kate. Honestly, Kate makes some really poor decisions, starting with just accepting Jonathan for who he is now and promising never to ask questions about his past. She wants someone to see her for who she is in the moment so badly that she’s letting logic take a backseat. Why would someone want to deny their past so badly unless they did something truly unforgivable? Kate wants to shed her past because of her connection to her father and she thinks that makes her and Jonathan equal, but they are not the same.
By the time she realizes the truth about who Joe is, it might be too late.
As for Rhys, did Joe think he was really going to get rid of him that easily? Rhys has always wanted a friend to help him get to the finish line so to speak. He believes that they are the same, so he wasn’t going to just let Joe slip away.
And while his motive wasn’t evident at first, he seems hellbent on taking out those who don’t deserve their success and wealth. The three victims, Malcolm, Simon, and Gemma, all threatened his mayoral run in some way, so they were taken care of, and now, he’s setting his sights on the ultimate villain–Kate’s father. She may have a complicated relationship with her tycoon dad, but I don’t think Kate would ever want to see anything bad happen to him, let alone at the hands of the man she’s in love with.
However, Rhys doesn’t seem to give Joe much of a choice as he still holds all of the cards. One might think that Joe could just handle this in the same way he always does, but well, you can’t just try to kill a killer. He’d see that coming from miles away. Joe needs to be strategic and deliberate in his plan, so for now, he has to play along. I, for one, am curious to see what all the hubbub is about Kate’s father–is he really as terrible as she makes him out to be?
As for Rhys, what is the catch? Fans were disappointed with the first half of the season since his reveal as the killer was obvious—and his motives, including his desire to kill Kate’s father–are exactly shocking or game-changing. What are we missing?
What did you think of the episode?
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel2 weeks ago
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Series Finale Review – Four Minutes (509)
- Quiz1 week ago
QUIZ: Which ‘Nancy Drew’ Character Are You?
- What to Watch2 weeks ago
Memorial Day Weekend: 5 Best TV Shows to Binge-Watch
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel3 weeks ago
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – The Princess and the Plea (508)
- Netflix3 weeks ago
When Is Season 3 of ‘Ginny and Georgia’ Coming Out?
- Chicago P.D2 weeks ago
Is Adam Ruzek Leaving ‘Chicago PD’?
- Coffee Table News7 days ago
When Does ‘Manifest’ Season 4 Part 2 Release on Netflix?
- Riverdale6 days ago
Riverdale Review – American Graffiti (710)