Athlete A Gets an A+

 In Documentary, Everything, Recommended, Woman Director
A picture from the movie Athlete A

Athlete A

Directed by Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

The review:

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

Further sentences:

*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:

Text: We love winners in this country. This is a competitive country. We consider ourselves the best in the world at everything, right? But this notion that we would sacrifice our young to win I think disgustes us a little. —Jennfier Say. —Athlete A. Read the three sentence movie review
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