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American Former Gymnast Vanessa Atler Says She Received An Out Of The Blue Apology From Liukin Right Before It Was Announced He Was Considered For US Head Coach Position

Vanessa Atler, an American former gymnast who said that she developed an eating disorder while training under Valeri Liukin, revealed that L...

Vanessa Atler, an American former gymnast who said that she developed an eating disorder while training under Valeri Liukin, revealed that Liukin's wife reached out to her with an apology weeks before it was announced that Liukin was being considered for the US team head coach position.

"Well I know I don't need to comment about this Valeri thing, but I have wanted to for awhile. At 40 years old I have been in the middle of healing and I wanted to sit with my emotions and make sure I didn't react with emotion," Alter wrote in a Facebook post.

"On Jan. 2nd I was contacted by Anna Liukin. (Valeris' wife) . She said they wanted to reach out and make sure there was no hurt feelings. To be honest I was excited. I felt like maybe this was meant to be in my healing and that this was a good opportunity to for me," she revealed.

"I called them right away. It was a wonderful conversation with them both. Valeri said he wished he had done things differently and that he was young and didn't fully know what he was doing. Which I greatly appreciated. I told them I would love to talk in person ( I wanted to talk to him about more serious stuff that I thought wasn't appropriate over the phone) But it was a great conversation and I felt special and loved that they reached out."

But when news of Liukin being a front runner for the top USA Gymnastics position, her heart was shattered into pieces.

"A few weeks ago the article came out about Valeri being considered for the USAG Coordinator. My heart dropped. I was hoping they did not reach out to stop me from speaking out against him. But then I thought , who am I? I'm not even really in the gynastics world anymore. I decided to sit with my feelings and not react right away or assume anything."

However, she later discovered that Liukin has been sending the same exact message to other gymnasts he previously coached and allegedly abused.

"Later I was invited to a UCLA competition.( I had a blast by the way!) I ran into a very popular known UCLA gymnast that shared with me that she too was reached out by Anna Liukin.( This gymnast had spoken out against them in the past as well.)"

"We showed each other our messages. They were sent the same day and the message basically looked like it was copy and pasted with a few changes here and there. I was hurt. I felt stupid and sad. I felt like I had been swindled! Swindled at 40. 😐"

"I am trying to work on not looking at things black and white and more in the gray area. So here are my thoughts:

I believe Valeri is a victim of his culture he was brought up in. I believe people can change. I believe his apology was sincere. I believe he is not a horrible person.

I also believe Valeri should not ever be allowed to be a national team coordinator. I believe he should not be allowed to be head coach of any competition until all investigations are over and he has apologized to all and has committed to educating himself and doing better for the future. I believe his wife contacted me as well as others to help him get the job as coordinator. And I also believe Valeri has a real issue with treating athletes well when they are doing good and treating athletes poorly when they are not performing well because he believes it is a reflection of him."

Alter, who was one of America's most promising and talented gymnasts in the late 1990s, expressed her desire to seek closure through a meeting with the Liukins.

"I would still like to have lunch with the Liukins and discuss things. I believe it's important for me to listen but to also express the feelings I was not able to when I was 18."

"Lastly USAG, I understand you are having a hard time finding that golden person that can win medals and have the well being of the athletes at heart. But your priorities are flipped. Athletes first. Medals second."

Atler ends her post asking people to take into account that she is still in the middle of healing and that she may always be.

Screenshot jordynsleftbrow/Twitter

The American former athlete was considered a near-lock to make the U.S. Olympic team in Sydney, but injuries, coaching conflicts, gym changes, mental breakdowns and bulimia symptoms cut her Olympic dream short.

Valeri was named the coordinator for the United States women's national gymnastics team in 2016, replacing the retiring Márta Károlyi. He resigned less than 18 months later amid the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal.

He is currently under investigation by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for multiple allegations of verbal and psychological abuse of young gymnasts.

Russian-American retired artistic gymnast turned gymnastics coach is the father US gymnast Nastia Liukin, whom he coached to an Olympic all around gold.

Photo: Atler/Instagram

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