Netflix Documentary Recommendation: Athlete A (2020)
This is a documentary that makes you think about the behind the closed door happenings you don’t know until it opens and all kinds of skeletons come out. This is about the USA Gymnastics organization and how they punished one gymnast in the running to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her name was Maggie Nichols but she got some vindication when Larry Nassar was finally arrested and sentenced, Marta Karoyli stepped down as national team coordinator, USAG declared bankruptcy, and the entire board resigned.
Athlete A is directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk. It includes former gymnasts who were abused by Nassar, The Indianapolis Star reporters, and past USA Gymnastics staff. The bottom line is Nassar was a predator and got everything he deserved in the end including listening from the gymnasts he violated. The bottom line is it showed the harsh reality of the gymnastics sport.
There are not many other sports where you are forced to perform with major injuries. Boxing and MMA come to mind but again most of the fighters are not young like gymnasts. Many of us cheered and thought Kerri Strug was a heroine in the 1996 Olympics, but gymnasts all around the world train and perform with injuries often at the pressure of their coaches.
There are rare mishaps that lead to gymnasts paralyzed and or/dead. They include Elena Mukhina, Julissa Gomez, Sang Lan, and Adriana Duffy. Striving to be thin took the life of Christy Heinrich. There obviously needs to be more oversight in professional sports where complete control and domination over young gymnasts, especially females, is not the norm. This documentary is one hour and 43 minutes long.
I rate Athlete A Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%.