United States Olympic Committee revoke USA Gymnastics

Written by Daniella Challis

 

The United States Olympic Committee has begun its first steps towards withdrawing USA Gymnastics as a national governing body.

Sarah Hirshland, Chief Executive Officer of USOC, said in her statement to USA Gymnastics;

“Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that we have come to easily, but I believe it is the right action.”

The NGB began deteriorating after allegations were made against Larry Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics. Nassar, was sentenced in January 2018 for up to 175 years imprisonment with 265 cases of sexual abuse.

His victims included USA Olympic champion Simone Biles, who spoke out for the first time on twitter under the hashtag ‘#MeToo’.

“I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she said.

The Olympic gold medalist added in her tweet:

“It breaks my heart even more to think as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.

We need to know why this was able to take place for so long and to so many of us. We need to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Kerry Perry, USA Gymnastics president, resigned in September 2018 just nine months after taking on the role. Resignation happened after a failed attempt to help the organisation through it’s recovery following one of the biggest scandals in sporting history.

During Perry’s reign as president, USAG experienced a downfall of bad publicity, losing some of their major sponsors, this came after previous CEO of USAG, Steve Penny, was arrested for tampering with evidence in relation to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Biles continued in her tweet:

“For too long I’ve asked myself, “was I too naive? Was it my fault?” I now know the answer to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”

Biles should be seen not just as a world champion, but a women that marks history; a role model to many people.

The 21-year-old took a year out in 2017 to recover from the incident but is now back and even better than before. Her comeback was at the US championships in August, where she made her fifth all-round title.

At the event she wore a striking teal leotard, which is the colour used to mark awareness for sexual assault, which was worn as a mark of respect to fellow victims.

Hirshland stated in her open letter: “You deserve better.”

There has not yet been a final decision, and an ongoing process is taking place as to whether the current gymnastics NGB will remain or a new governing body will take over.  The process must follow strict USOC Bylaws.

“We have filed a complaint,” Hirshland added. “A review panel will be identified, a hearing will be held, a report will be issued and a recommendation will be made. Then the USOC board will vote to continue to recognise USAG, or to revoke that status.”

As steps begin towards the abolishment of the NGB, current US gymnasts no doubt are worrying about the affect this may have on them.

The CEO of USOC has reassured the gymnastics community in his statement:

“You’re no doubt wondering what this means for you and the gymnastics community. Until the process is completed and a final determination on USAG’s status is made, we will work to ensure that gymnastics training and competitions will continue as usual.”

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