Transcript for 'Army of survivors' break their silence at Nassar sentencing: Part 1
When I was little, I always wanted to be in the olympics. I wanted to be a collegiate athlete. To become a sports medicine doctor. My dreams were definitely derailed after seeing him. I feel like part of me has been robbed. Reporter: This week in Lansing Michigan, 19 young pill, boarding a bus for the 20-mile journey from a courthouse to a community college. Where our "20/20" crew and cameras awaited them. Jennifer, and Morgan. Reporter: But that's nothing compared to the journey they have been on for years, coming to terms with the abuse they say they endured. Hello, ladies. Reporter: They have come here to tell you their story. A story they say they couldn't tell for so long. I have to say as I sit here and look at the dpraup group of you, it's unbelievable to me that every single one of you was a victim to Larry Nassar and you're just a drop in the bucket. Yes. For so many years you might have thought you were the only one. Look next to you. You weren't. It's overwhelming. It's -- it didn't have to be this way. It is both incredibly comforting but also incredibly horrifying how many there are. Reporter: Their tormentor? Larry Nassar. Hopefully this will be an educational experience. Reporter: The once revered former team doctor for American gymnastics. A man from whom they sought care and comfort, and instead, suffered the cruelest form of betrayal and degradation. His fate sealed earlier this week as judge Rosemarie Aquilina made certain he would never see freedom again. I'm giving you 175 years which is 2,100 months, I just signed your death warrant. So how does it feel knowing that man will never ever step outside prison again while he's alive? I am grateful but it feels very incomplete. I don't think it really represents the pain, and all of the emotions that all of us have gone through, and all the other women out there. Everyone tell me how old you were you when Larry Nassar first abused you? 12. 8. 14. 20. So, I heard a 20 that's the oldest. I heard a 7? 7? Yup, at one point my coach was even in the room with me. Your coach was even in the room with you? Yeah. How many of you suffered from anxiety as a result of what happened to you? Panic attacks, depression? What a legacy for pursuing what was your dream. Now we have a new dream. What's the new dream? Change the world. Reporter: The courageous women we met were among the 156 who took turns giving those searing victim impact statements at sentencing. I have experienced flashbacks. One after the other. The anguish. The anger. How much I Hate you. Reporter: Lasting more than seven extraordinary days. And now you're the world's number one child molester and P pedonfile. Reporter: Some with very familiar faces and names like olympic gold medalist Aly raisman. Reporter: Raisman "The worst epidemic of sexual abuse in the history of sports." And others she called an "Army of survivors," bravely shedding their anonymity in unprecedented numbers. Their parents wiping away tears, still haunted and bewildered by the assaults that went unnoticed, sometimes with them in the room. She said, "Mom, he put his fingers in me and they weren't gloved." And I said, "Chelsea, I was right there in the room," and she said, "You couldn+t see what was going on mom." And she said, "He hurt me!" I willingly took my most precious gift in this world to you, and you hurt her. And she was only 8. I cannot help but think, how did I miss the red flags? Reporter: For every "Sister survivor" who testified in court, there is a story of a little girl with a dream, and a love of a sport. Like akemi look. She was immediately dazzled by rhythmic gymnastics watching the 1996 olympics. I was 10 years old and I was riveted. I was on the edge O my seat as a little girl because, you know, you see these beautiful streamers flying up in the air, and it's such a graceful sport, and they throw their equipment up 30 something feet and into the air and -- and then catch it. And it's like magic. And I said to my mom, "I want to do this." Reporter: Mattie Larson's love for gymnastics began when she was just two years old. I could almost do what the six-year-olds could do, at two. It was like I had found my calling at two years old. You were one of these kids with the magic pixie dust. Yeah. It came so easy to me, and that's what I loved about it. Reporter: Lindsey Lemke was six when the gymnastics bug bit her. The higher level I got the more accolades I had the more confidence I had in myself and you know that was kind of something I wanted to pursue. Reporter: All three girls rapidly ascended the ranks. Becoming elite gymnasts. How quickly did coaches around you know you were something special? It was pretty quick. My parents told me all the coaches that we tried. She has it she could go all the way. They were saying this before you were 7 years old? Yeah! Was there a particular event that was your specialty? Floor my favorite. I think it kind of showed because I lit up when I did floor. Reporter: With the dreams, came grueling commitment. I gave up everything I was always in the gym practicing. I wanted to make the olympics. It's a life that is very different from the Normal high school girls life. There's so much competition and so much loneliness and so much isolation you're traing most of the day. It's incredibly cutthroat. Reporter: And hand in hand with the non stop training, there were frequent injuries. I was at practice and I did a 2 1/2 twist, and I landed on my ankle and it rolled out, and then I heard a crack. I had broken my foot. I had shin splints. I had knee pain. I was doing splits and I couldn't lift my leg off the ground. It was the sharpest pain. I just cried and cried and cried. Reporter: And with those injuries came treatment. And the coach said, you need to go see the team doctor. Yeah. He'll make you better. Yeah. Reporter: Little did they know, they say there was no cure in sight. You have the olympic doctor? Yes. It was like, "Wow, I'm lucky." You know I just hurt my foot and he's already fitting me in his schedule. I remember being told that he was the national team doctor and that I was in good hands and he knows what he's doing.
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