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USA Gymnastics board resigns over Nassar fallout

The US Olympic Committee had demanded the board’s members step down.

GYMNASTICS-USA-ABUSE Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in jail this week for sexually abusing the athletes he treated. But the fallout of the case is ongoing.

The USA Gymnastics board of directors resigned Friday en masse in response to the demands of the US Olympic Committee.

“USA Gymnastics supports the United States Olympic Committee’s letter and accepts the absolute need of the Olympic family to promote a safe environment for all of our athletes,” the organization said in a statement. “We agree with the USOC’s statement that the interests of our athletes and clubs, and their sport, may be better served by moving forward with meaningful change within our organization, rather than decertification.”

On Thursday, the US Olympic Committee sent a letter to the board of USA Gymnastics, asserting that it would strip the board of its power as the governing body of the sport unless all of its current members resign by January 31.

“While the USOC encourages USA Gymnastics to think and act broadly on reforming its culture, we also believe that reform must start with an entirely new board,” the letter says. “We do not base these requirements on any knowledge that any individual USAG staff or board members had a role in fostering or obscuring Nassar’s actions. Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding.”

The US Olympic Committee’s request reflects the sentiment that USA Gymnastics failed to protect its athletes, and the committee laid out other ultimatums for USA Gymnastics to follow to maintain its accreditation, including cooperation with an independent investigation and greater oversight from the Olympic Committee.

More than 150 of Nassar’s victims spoke at his sentencing hearing before the Ingham County Circuit Court in Michigan, and some of them — including Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman — stressed that the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics did not support them when they came forward with allegations against Nassar.

Further, we learned during Nassar’s trial that McKayla Maroney, a teammate of Raisman’s at the 2012 Olympics and one of Nassar’s victims, signed a nondisclosure agreement with USA Gymnastics that stated she would be subject to a $100,000 fine if she spoke out about the allegations.

On Monday, January 22, three USA Gymnastics board members resigned. The organization’s president, Steve Penny resigned from his position in March 2017, replaced by Kerry Perry, who took over in December 2017.

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