Great Britain

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast says Britney Spears’s story resonates with her

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast McKayla Maroney has spoken of her sympathy for Britney Spears during the pop star’s struggle to free herself from an “abusive” conservatorship.

The 2012 Olympic champion shared a deeply personal account of her own “physically, mentally, and emotionally” exhausting experience of speaking up at the abuse she suffered from disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

“I hated the depressing tone my life took on,” Ms Maroney, 25, posted on Instagram.

“I never wanted to be seen as a victim, I just wanted Larry Nassar in jail, and the people who enabled the abuse to be held accountable.”

In 2018, Ms Maroney spoke out about how she was abused by Nassar “hundreds of times” from the age of 13.

She said she tried to raise the alarm about Nassar’s sexual abuse of US gymnasts as early as 2011.

Ms Maroney wrote how Miss Spears’ story resonated with her.

“Because just like Britney, I also had to “fake it till you make it” to survive my 2012 Olympics,” she said.

“I was just trying to accomplish my dream, but I had abuse coming at me from many angles that I didn’t understand how to process at 15.

“I had to suppress it, and I had to minimise it, just to get through the day.”

Ms Spears has been under the control of a conservatorship, which has for the past 13 years controlled her financial and personal decisions.

A movement to “Free Britney” has gathered momentum since shocking details of the “abusive” legal arrangement became public.

Last week, Ms Spears’s lawyer requested a new conservator of her estate.

Mathew S Rosengart, who was appointed as Ms Spears’s new lawyer on 14 July, has filed a petition in Los Angeles probate court asking for Jason Rubin to be named as the new conservator of her estate.

If the request is approved, Mr Rubin would replace Ms Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, who has controlled all of his daughter’s financial decisions since 2008.

During explosive testimony in court last month, Ms Spears claimed that her father “should be in jail” for not doing “a goddamn thing” to improve her situation.

Mr Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison in 2018 for abusing more than one hundred girls in his care.

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