OU gymnast Maggie Nichols to receive 2019 Inspiration Award

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – MARCH 07: Gymnast Maggie Nichols poses for a portrait at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 7, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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NORMAN, Okla. – Maggie Nichols, a University of Oklahoma gymnast who was among the first to report sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, is being honored by the NCAA with the 2019 Inspiration Award.

Nichols will receive the award Jan. 23 at the NCAA Honors Celebration in Orlando, Florida. It’s given to a coach, administrator or athlete who demonstrates perseverance, dedication and serves as a role model of hope and inspiration to others.

In January when Nichols was a sophomore, she released an 898-word statement saying she had been sexually assaulted by Nassar and reported the abuse to USA Gymnastics in 2015.

In part, she said, “Not only was Larry Nassar my doctor, I thought he was my friend. He contacted me on Facebook complimenting me and telling me how beautiful I looked on numerous occasions. But I was only 15 and I just thought he was trying to be nice to me. Now I believe this was part of the grooming process I recently learned about.”

Nassar eventually pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges and was sentenced to decades in prison.

Nichols is the defending NCAA individual champion in the All-Around.

To read her full statement, click here.

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