The Slatest

U.S. Olympic Committee Moves to Strip USA Gymnastics of Authority Following Sex Abuse Scandal

An American gymnast on the balance beam during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Aug. 19, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.
An American gymnast on the balance beam during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Aug. 19, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

The United States Olympic Committee announced Monday it is moving to strip USA Gymnastics of its authority as a national governing body and take direct control over the administration the national gymnastics program. The move comes following more than 300 accusations of sexual abuse leveled at the longtime gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar. USA Gymnastics is facing dozens of lawsuits related to the abuse, which was done under the guise of medical procedures, and has been adrift due to a lack of leadership. The leadership of the organization, throughout, proved incapable of believing the stories of the young athletes it was meant to represent and accepting responsibility for its role in the nightmare. The organization is now looking for a new head, its fourth in that last year-and-a-half.

With seemingly no end in sight to the debacle that was USA Gymnastics, Sarah Hirshland, chief executive of the USOC, said the time had come to pull the plug. “We believe the challenges facing the organization are simply more than it is capable of overcoming in its current form,” Hirshland wrote in a letter to the gymnastics community. “We have worked closely with the new USAG board over recent months to support them, but despite diligent effort, the NGB continues to struggle. And that’s not fair to gymnasts around the country. Even weeks ago, I hoped there was a different way forward. But we now believe that is no longer possible… This is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions. Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that we have come to easily, but I believe it is the right action.”

The USOC has decertified sports’ governing bodies three times in the past, including stripping the handball team for “a continued pattern of dysfunction” and the taekwondo federation for financial problems.