LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has taken the first steps to revoke USA Gymnastics of its status as the national governing body for the sport in the latest fallout from the sex abuse scandal involving a former team doctor.
The USOC said the challenges facing the governing body, which is trying to recover from a scandal over the sexual abuse of hundreds of female athletes by ex-team doctor Larry Nassar, are more than it is capable of overcoming in its current form.
“This is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions,” USOC chief executive Sarah Hirshland said in an open letter to the gymnastics community. “Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that we have come to easily, but I believe it is the right action.
“In the short-term, we will work to ensure that America’s gymnasts have the support necessary to excel on and off the field of play.”
USA Gymnastics has been in turmoil ever since dozens of female gymnasts, including Olympic champions such as Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, came forward to accuse Nassar of sexual abuse.
Over the past two years, three CEOs – Steve Penny, Kerry Perry and interim chief Mary Bono – have been forced out of the organisation after being criticised for the way they handled the situation.
Bono resigned following criticism by some top gymnasts about whether the former Republican congresswoman was fit to lead the organisation.
Then Penny was arrested on charges he tampered with evidence in the Nassar case.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement its board of directors was seated in June and inherited an organisation it described as being in crisis and with significant challenges that were years in the making.