Gymnast Maggie Nichols Opens Up About Eating Disorder and Abuse in New Memoir

Key Takeaways:
– Elite gymnast, Maggie Nichols reveals struggle with eating disorder in her new memoir, “Unstoppable!”.
– The disorder was triggered by derogatory comments about her body from a coach.
– Nichols chronicles physical abuse by disgraced team doctor, Larry Nassar.
– Nichols was the first to come forward about Nassar’s abuse in 2015, known anonymously as “Athlete A”.
– Today, Nichols is actively advocating for victims of abuse through her foundation.

Hailing from the elite echelons of USA Gymnastics, Maggie Nichols, now 26, recently unveiled her haunting past in an empowering memoir named “Unstoppable!” In this moving autobiography, Nichols recounts her teenage struggle with an eating disorder and abuse at the hands of a once-trusted team doctor. Mentally scarred by the ordeal, Nichols shared her journey to recovery, inspiring others who may be mired in similar experiences.

Preparing for the Olympics: A Looming Nightmare

As a teenager, Nichols trained with powerhouse athletes like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, aspiring for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. However, during this strenuous training period in 2015 at the famed Karolyi Ranch in Texas, Nichols traversed career-derailing difficulties.

Nichols vividly recalls a disheartening experience when a coach judged her body shamelessly, comparing her to a “puffy marshmallow”. This unpleasant criticism acted as a catalyst to the onset of her eating disorder. Nichols had been content with her body image, up till then. Yet, under the stigma of this reproach, she was coerced to add a 45-minute daily run on the treadmill to her already exhausting training regimen.

The Nassar Episode: A Traumatizing Chapter

In addition to the harsh scrutiny about her weight, a horrifying saga of physical abuse was unfolding behind the scenes. Nichols was treated and molested by the infamous team doctor, Larry Nassar, who later pleaded guilty to his remorseless crimes. Nassar’s life sentence today stands as a grim reminder of his heinous act against hundreds of young gymnasts.

Nichols was the courageous first responder to Nassar’s dreadful abuse. Identifying anonymously as “Athlete A” in 2015, she played a pivotal role in bringing this scandal to light. It’s speculated that her whistleblowing might have cost her an esteemed spot on the Olympic team.

Coping Mechanism: A Hard Price to Pay

Pressures from an ambitious career and utter betrayal by a trusted doctor, spurred an unhealthy obsession in Nichols with her weight and food intake. She recollects intense scrutiny from her coaches. Mundane acts like reaching for a banana were reprimanded. The stress-induced eating disorder led to severe undernourishment, fatigue, and consequent injuries.

Emergence and Advocacy: A Beacon of Hope

Looking back, Nichols remembers her desperate attempts to conform to a form that was not hers. Today, as a personal trainer, Nichols champions body acceptance and is an ardent advocate for victims of abuse. Equipped with a master’s degree in education, she’s now also on a mission to empower survivors with her newly established Maggie Nichols Foundation.


In her gripping memoir, “Unstoppable!”, Nichols boldly tears the veil off the unseen trials of relentless athletic training. Her buckled journey from the shadows of abuse and body shaming towards becoming an inspiring figure is a harsh reality check on the untold stories often hidden behind the limelight. The resilience Nichols displays is not just a testament to her indomitable spirit but also a beacon of hope for others grappling with their own battles.

Source: New York Daily News