WESTWOOD (CBSLA) — Women from two of the country’s best gymnastics teams competed Sunday and came together to recognize their fellow gymnasts who spoke out against rampant sexual assault in their sport.
The University of California, Los Angeles gymnastics team and their rivals from the University of Oklahoma greeted each other at the end of the competition Sunday, donning shirts emblazoned with “Together We Rise” on the front.
It was in a show of solidarity with the victims of Larry Nassar, the former doctor with USA Gymnastics who recently pleaded guilty to sexually abusing dozens of his minor, female patients.
“This is a tribute to this army of women who have ushered in this age of accountability worldwide,” UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Fields told CBS2 News.
Four women affiliated with the UCLA gymnastics program have publicly accused Nassar of sexual abuse, including Olympic gold medalist and volunteer assistant coach for UCLA Jordyn Wieber. She was one of the many women who confronted Nassar during his sentencing in January.
Jeanette Antolin, a former Team USA member, was on hand to show support, as well. “Starting out, we didn’t have a ton of support. So now, to see so many people coming behind us and supporting us all the way through and showing us love, it means the world,” Antolin said.
The competitors wore shirts and teal ribbons in support, holding hands triumphantly at the end of the competition.
It’s been a longtime coming for gymnast Mattie Larson. “I mean, it’s something that I’ve never felt in my career as a gymnast,” said Larson. “I felt, obviously, support from my family and other teammates, but something like this, where you feel like a whole community is behind you — it was something I couldn’t even imagine. It’s overwhelming, but, like, in an amazing way.”
Oklahoma beat UCLA 198.050-197.900 at Pauley Pavilion.