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Gold-medal gymnast Aly Raisman prepared for her victim impact statement at Larry Nassar's sentencing the same way she approached the Olympics.
"In that moment, I almost felt like I was going to compete," Raisman told Hoda Kotb on "Today" in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
"Because at the Olympics, you block everything out and in that moment, I blocked out everything."
But, she added, the experience of confronting Nassar, the longtime team doctor for USA Gymnastics, made her physically ill.
"After, I will be honest, I was sick," she said. "I almost passed out. I had the worst headache for hours.
"It made me literally sick, all the stress and the trauma," Raisman said.
Raisman, who won gold as a member of the 2012 "Fierce Five" Olympic team, electrified a Michigan courtroom and captivated the public with the statement she gave last week at Nassar's marathon sentencing hearing.
"I blocked everything out."
The 23-year-old castigated not only the doctor who has been accused of molesting more than 150 former patients but also the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for failing to protect athletes and bungling the response to the scandal.
Within days, three leaders of USA Gymnastics had resigned and the U.S. Olympic Committee had promised an independent, third-party investigation into what went wrong. On Wednesday night, the president of Michigan State University, where Nassar had his medical practice, stepped down.
Raisman revealed in November that she had been sexually abused by Nassar; teammates McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber say they were also assaulted. Fellow Olympians Jamie Dantzscher and Simone Biles have also accused him.
On "Today," Raisman said she had not seen the team doctor since a training camp in 2015 while preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games.
She steeled herself to see him again in the flesh by looking at photographs. She said she was stunned that when she took the podium, Nassar did not keep his eyes down like he had for much of the seven-day hearing.
"He actually looked at me the whole entire time, every time I made contact with him," she said. "Even when I stared at him, he looked at me the whole entire time. It was crazy. I did not expect that at all."
After Raisman and 155 other accusers gave statements, Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years for molesting seven girls in Ingham County. That comes on top of a 60-year federal sentence for child pornography and will be augmented by a sentencing in Eaton County, Michigan, for criminal sexual conduct against three girls.
"He deserves to suffer," Raisman said. "It's disgusting what happens."
But, she said, her work did not end with the hearing. She is continuing to call for leaders of the gymnastics world to be held accountable. She noted that Nassar didn't even have a medical license to practice in Texas but treated, and allegedly abused, some of the gymnasts at the Karolyi Ranch there.
"We need to investigate how this happened," she said. "For so long, they put medals, reputation and money over the safety of athletes."
She said she was stunned that since her statement, no one from USA Gymnastics or the U.S. Olympic Committee had reached out to her. But she was gratified by the support she received from other patients of Nassar and the public.
"I can't even put into words how much this means to me," she said. "I never imagined this kind of support in my wildest dreams.
"I didn't know most of these girls and women but I just found an instant connection. We are really an army of survivors and this is just the beginning for us."