Athlete A Gets an A+
Directed by Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
The rise of the tiny gymnast has run parallel to my time on earth, and I’ve kept tabs from on the Olympic branch of the sport since the 80s* including Larry Nassar’s arrest, trial, and the 100+ victim statements.** While we follow the reporters recounting their efforts to break the abuse story, directors Cohen and Shenk use gymnasts, parents,*** lawyers, and trainers to highlight the many things wrong with USA Gymnastics.**** The use and discarding of these girls is hard to watch, but it’s worth every minute of your time.
The verdict: Recommended
Cost: Netflix monthly fee ($8.99)
Where watched: at home
*Béla Károli hugging Mary Lou Retton after her perfect vault is one of my earliest Olympic memories, though I gave up watching the Olympics after Atlanta when the commentary became unbearable. (“What a terrible tragedy! You can see how disappointing it is that she won bronze!”)
**That Nassar’s plea bargain allowed so many women to speak was perhaps the most powerful moment in a long history of women speaking up and being ignored. (Or worse.)
***Maggie Nichols’s parents are particularly good at simply stating the many outrageous things that were going on.
****I’d like to start talking about making sure Olympic athletes meet minimum age requirements, for one.
- How many other sports organizations do you think need the same level of scrutiny as USA Gymnastics got?
- What was the most moving moment in the film for you? Or the most maddening.
Other reviews of Athlete A:
- Kate Erbland, Indiewire
- Leah Greenblat, Entertainment