Larissa Miller
Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

For a successful career in the sport, gymnasts sacrifice their whole lives. But for Australian gymnast Larissa Miller, she was forced to endure sexual abuse beside the hard life in gymnastics.

"When I was growing up it was just how my life was," said Miller who was sexually abused between the ages of five and sixteen by an extended family member who is now serving jail time.

She had a regular contact with her abuser.

" I was getting really depressed; people around me knew something was wrong. My mum and I, we were just fighting all the time, and she just thought I was being an annoying little teenager."

"The first person I told was my sister... and then my sister told my mum."

The London Olympian was having one of the hardest times in her life at the beginning of this year as her attacker was facing trial. Ms Miller made the gym her only escape from reality.

"Gym was my savior, to be honest. I don't know what I would have done if I wasn't in the gym,"

Miller only came out publicly as a sexual assault survivor last month, she stated that wants to use her story to help sexual assault victims and to raise awareness.

"It's not something that's talked about enough but it actually is so common. I just wanted people to know that it's okay to speak out and get the help and support they need."

The 23 year old gymnast who is now an ambassador for child protection organisation Bravehearts, has only started training last July and is looking forward to compete at the upcoming World championships which will be held in Glasgow between October 23 and November 1.

"I had the whole start of this year off because I was going through the court process. I only started training in July," she said. "It has been a really short amount of training for the Worlds."

Australia will have to qualify to the team final in Glasgow in order to go as full team to Rio, however, if they failed to qualify, they will have to compete at next year's Olympic test event and finish in the top four positions.

"I just want to get through the clean routines that I can," she said.

Written By Gigi Farid

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