Li denies wrongdoing, alleges abuse by Nassar

Former U.S. national team gymnast Anna Li, who resigned from her post as a member of the USA Gymnastics Athletes' Council amid allegations of emotional abuse, denied wrongdoing this week and publicly alleged for the first time that former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused her.

Li won All-America honors at UCLA and served as an alternate on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team that won gold in London before joining her mother, Jiani Wu, as a coach at Legacy Elite Gymnastics club in Illinois.

All five members of the gold-medal-winning team from 2012 have previously said Nassar sexually abused them. The former Olympic team doctor was sentenced last year to up to 175 years in prison for molesting his patients under the guise of medical treatment.

Li said through an attorney that she anonymously filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics in June related to alleged abuse by Nassar. She is one of hundreds of women who is involved in legal action against the organization related to Nassar.

"For the last few years, I have seen one after another of my sister gymnasts come forward and bravely speak out about their abuse by Larry Nassar," Li said in a statement provided to ESPN. "I had been afraid to speak out, afraid of the repercussions on my family, my career, and to my own emotional well-being -- admitting to myself that I was taken advantage of by a trusted adult.

"I have struggled to come to terms with a career in gymnastics, protecting the livelihood of my family, and what I have been through. Larry Nassar was reputed within the gymnastics community to be 'the best.' At the time, I saw him as a trusted figure so I pushed down any doubts. I went to him. He treated me. And I am a survivor.

"I came forward to make my claim against Nassar in the spring of this year, confidentially. I was not ready for attention on this issue as I am still processing. But I can see now that my silence cannot continue, whether I am ready or not."

Li was appointed to a spot on the organization's Athletes' Council in late June. According to an article published by the Orange County Register, Li's new role surprised some gymnasts who trained with her and prompted them to report some of her behavior in the gym to the U.S. Center for SafeSport -- an independent organization tasked with adjudicating claims of abuse made in Olympic sports.

According to the Orange County Register, Li and her mother "bullied athletes, regularly called girls fat, pressured injured athletes to train or compete, and threatened to make negative comments to college coaches recruiting them."

Li called those allegations "patently untrue" but declined to address any of them specifically.

The article also said some gymnasts said that Li and her mother steered injured athletes toward Nassar -- who was based in East Lansing, Michigan, where he worked at Michigan State University -- and did not trust the opinions of other doctors.

The Orange County Register reported in early August that Li and Wu were being investigated by USA Gymnastics. Li resigned from her post on the Athletes' Council on Aug. 7 on the eve of the U.S. gymnastics championships.

"The accusations that have been lobbied against myself and my mother are heartbreaking and hurtful to hear. But more than anything, these accusations are absolutely false and untrue," Li said in her statement. "I was blessed not only to be raised by such amazing parents, but to be coached by them too. I have seen first-hand the kind of coaches they are.

"They helped me achieve my dream to make it to the Olympics, and I see the same determination and compassion in them with every athlete they train. I have gained so much through the sport of gymnastics that I do my best to hold onto my love for the sport and help foster that feeling within the girls I coach."

Li said she chose to "temporarily step aside" so the focus of the gymnastics community would remain on the athletes who were competing.