Laurie Hernandez, Maggie Haney respond to coach’s suspension

By Patricia Duffy | May 19, 2020
Laurie Hernandez, Maggie Haney respond to coach's suspension

It was a busy Monday for Laurie Hernandez and her estranged former coach, Maggie Haney.

Hernandez gave her first TV interview since Haney was suspended for eight years for verbal and emotional abuse of gymnasts.

The Olympic gold and silver medalist appeared on TODAY on Monday morning, saying, “It’s a really big step for gymnasts and USA Gymnastics just to go ahead and do the right thing and make sure people know that kind of treatment isn’t OK. It’s not OK.”

The Dancing with the Stars champion was promoting the “Stronger Than You Think” initiative that is bringing awareness to mental health for teens.

Hernandez also commented on USAG’s handling of the case, saying the three and a half years it took to get to this point was too long.

“I mean, the case was opened late 2019/early 2020,” she said. “In all that time, they could have prevented a lot of athletes from having to go through the same thing that I went through, but I’m just glad that we were able to do something about it.”

USAG’s CEO Li Li Leung said in a statement last week that the organization is “improving this process until our athletes and our community can trust it.”

The organization is looking “to respond more emphatically, to resolve complaints more efficiently, and to be more vigilant.”

Leung also said that USAG will continue working to “improve the culture within our sport, so that abuse like this is no longer tolerated.”

Also on Monday, Haney offered her first public comment since she was suspended.

“My coaching techniques were at all times, well-intended; meant specifically to lead her to her personal goal of achieving Olympic gold,” Haney said, according to TODAY. “If the pursuit of excellence and the rigor of my coaching style has resulted in any harm to any gymnast that has been a part of my team, I am truly sorry.”

Watch Hernandez’ full interview with TODAY below.

Laurie Hernandez Talks Overcoming Abuse, Tokyo 2021, and Helping Teens

Credit: TODAY/YouTube