The United States Olympic Committee have taken their first steps towards withdrawing USA Gymnastics as a National Governing Body.
Sarah Hirshland, Chief Executive Officer of USOC, said in her statement on behalf of the USOC:
“Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that we have come to easily, but I believe it is the right action.”
USA Gymnastics began deteriorating after allegations were made against Larry Nassar, the teams former doctor. Nassar was sentenced in January 2018 for up to 175 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to 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 were 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 its 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 the 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 is not just a world champion, but a role model to many people across the world.
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 2018, where she wore a striking teal leotard.
The colour teal is used to create awareness around sexual assault and was worn as a sign of respect to fellow victims.
Biles achieved her fifth all-around title at the competition.
Hirshland stated in her open letter to al USAG gymnastics and the gymnastics community in the United States:
“You deserve better.”
There has not yet been a final decision, and an ongoing process, which must follow strict USOC Bylaws, is taking place as to whether the current gymnastics NGB will remain or a new governing body will take over.
“We have filed a complaint.
“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 effect this may have on them.
The Hirshland has reassured the gymnastics community in her 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.”
You can find the whole statement made by the USOC here