“Tired and Hungry,” the former roommate of Simone Biles, opens up about the abuse cycle within USA Gymnastics.

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For many athletes, the world of gymnastics is a happy and safe place. Many icons in the sport have had to face a terrible path due to its dark past. A former American gymnast who is well-known for her activism in gymnastics and for becoming the first NCAA gymnast to successfully execute a gym slam for the Oklahoma Sooners is one example of such an icon.

The gymnastics superstar Simone Biles and this 26-year-old were once roommates, and their combined influence has had a significant effect on the sport. In addition, she recently disclosed a painful side to her history, including the horrific abuse that left her “starved.”

In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE, Maggie Nichols talked candidly about her autobiographical book “Unstoppable!” and the difficulties she encountered while competing for USA Gymnastics. She talked about how she joined USA Gymnastics, a place where a lot of young athletes dream of being, full of enthusiasm and optimism for the sport, in the interview.

She was tall and had a muscular frame that gave her tremendous power, even though she was just 14 at the time. However, the coordinator for USA Gymnastics at the time urged the gymnast lose weight because she perceived it as a problem rather than a strength. Maggie Nichols remarked, “I want to hug that girl because she was tired, hungry, and hurting,” as she looked back at her younger self.

The 26-year-old Maggie Nichols revealed how she was taken aback to be instructed to concentrate on her body image because it was something she had never considered before. She was committed to going above and beyond to be the greatest. She then started tracking her calories, avoiding carbohydrates, and increasing the number of exercises she did in addition to her intense training. Her coordinator once even chastised her for eating a banana, even though she had dropped to a terrifying 6.5% body fat percentage. She was often hungry, which finally caused exhaustion and wounds. Her physical fragility prompted her to seek medical assistance, which in turn made her more vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the team’s sports medicine physician at the time—the now-convicted Larry Nassar.

She eventually became one of the first people to speak out about the abuse and maltreatment she experienced. She overcame these obstacles to become a successful collegiate gymnast at the University of Oklahoma, where she won numerous titles. She says, “I’m so much stronger as an athlete and as a person,” and turns her attention to the good things in her life right now, such as her involvement, education, and advocacy. On January 16, 2024, her memoir “Unstoppable!” was published. Since then, she has had a lasting influence on numerous young women.

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