Tatiana Gutsu, who won gymnastics gold at the 1992 Olympics, has joined the growing number of women sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment on social media. A former USA gymnast has also spoken out.
The now 41-year-old Gutsu, who was the all-around champion at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, used a post on her Facebook account on Tuesday to accuse a former teammate and fellow gold medalist of raping her when she was 15 years old.
In the post, Gutsu (pictured above in 1992) alleges that Vitaly Scherbo raped her in 1991 during a competition in Stuttgart. She described Scherbo as a "monster who kept me in my own prison to be afraid for so many years."
The claim comes amid thousands of similar ones from women all over the globe who have used the Twitter hashtag #MeToo to report experiences of sexual harassment or assault. The hashtag is thought to have been started by American actress Alyssa Milano.
Fellow former Soviet competitors Rustam Sharipov, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, and Tatyana Toropova also drew criticism from Gutsu in the post for a perceived lack of support.
Gutsu and Scherbo competed for the Unified Team at the 1992 Games. The team drew athletes from a wide pool in the former Soviet Union's Olympic program, which produced more than a thousand Olympic medalists between 1952 and 1991.
Gutsu retired soon after her win in Barcelona and moved to the United States. She now works as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team.
Scherbo also lives in the United States and operates a gymnastics school in Las Vegas.
Maroney comes forward
Meanwhile, McKayla Maroney, a two-time medalist at the 2012 Olympics in London, has said she was molested for years by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor. In a statement posted via her Twitter account, Maroney, 21, said that the abuse had begun in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career.
The doctor Maroney accused, Larry Nassar spent three decades working with athletes at USA Gymnastics but now is in jail in Michigan awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Nassar is also awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges, and the dozens of civil suits filed in Michigan are currently in mediation.
mp,pfd/jh (AFP, AP)