Two gymnasts filed a lawsuit against former coach Maggie Haney on Tuesday after allegations that Haney both verbally and emotionally abused her athletes at her New Jersey gym.
Emily Liszewski, 18, and Olympic hopeful Riley McCusker filed the lawsuit on Tuesday against Haney, her assistants and the gym owners, according to NJ.com. The two alleged that Haney would scream and body -shame them, discourage girls from getting their periods and institute unsafe training conditions.
At least a dozen gymnasts have come out and said they were verbally or emotionally abused by Haney. Laurie Hernandez, who was on the gold medal-winning U.S. team during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, said Haney used to scream at her for minor mistakes, call her names, shame her for her weight and body and even made them train while injured, among other things. Hernandez later battled both eating disorders and depression as a result.
Haney was suspended for eight yers in April for failing to “provide a safe, positive and healthy environment with a culture of trust and empowerment.”
“I thought I deserved all of it,” Hernandez said in April.
“The toughest part about it was that there were no bruises or marks to show that it was real. It was all just so twisted that I thought it couldn’t be real.”
Haney denied all of the allegations against her in a statement to NJ.com, and instead blamed McCusker’s mother, Jessica — claiming that she was the one who was pushing McCusker to overtrain and limit her food intake.
“I hope Jess knows what she’s doing because this situation isn’t going to help calm Riley’s nerves,” Haney said, via NJ.com, citing the Tokyo Olympics next summer.
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