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Simone Biles says Larry Nassar abuse 'could have' impacted her Tokyo 2020 performance

Kelly McLaughlin,Anna Medaris Miller   

Simone Biles says Larry Nassar abuse 'could have' impacted her Tokyo 2020 performance
  • Simone Biles said Wednesday Larry Nassar's abuse "could have" affected her Olympic performance.
  • Biles is one of the more than 250 women who've accused the disgraced doctor of sexual abuse.
  • She pulled out of most of her Olympic events, citing her mental health and the "twisties."

Simone Biles says the abuse she faced at the hands of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar "could have" impacted her Tokyo 2020 performance.

"Now that I think about it, maybe in the back of my head, probably, yes, because there are certain triggers you don't even know, and I think it could have," she told "TODAY" host Hoda Kotb in an interview that aired on Wednesday.

Biles, who withdrew from several events at the Tokyo Olympics over concerns for her mental health, previously said she opted to compete in the games this year to be a voice for abuse survivors.

Biles revealed in 2018 that she'd been assaulted by Nassar

In 2018, Biles revealed she'd been abused by Nassar, who's now serving life in prison for molesting hundreds of young gymnasts under the guise of medical care.

"It's impossibly difficult to relive these experiences, and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused," she wrote on Twitter.

Some research has found that returning to a fearful state of mind can turn up formerly suppressed memories. That suppression is often necessary to get through everyday life, Laura McGuire, a sexual-health educator in Florida, previously told Insider.

The brain "does anything it can to kind of compartmentalize or minimize or erase what happened, because from this survival perspective that's going to be the easiest way to move forward," they said, "to get up and brush your teeth and eat breakfast instead of being paralyzed by that trauma and by those memories."

Even if the memories aren't vivid, "assault may impact daily life whether it happened recently or many years ago," the National Sexual Violence Resource Center writes. That may mean always being a little on edge not knowing when a trigger may pop up, or develop into serious long-term health consequences includeing PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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