In 13 days the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are set to begin in South Korea, but all IOC eyes are currently on the USA gymnastics board. The USOC (United States Olympic Committee) have sent a letter to the US Gymnastics Board requesting the resignation of all members. This comes directly after the results of the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar.
Two days ago former US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty to 7 counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct, was given a sentence of 40-175 years in prison for molesting young girls under the guise of medical treatment. Some of these patients were members of the US Women’s Gymnastics team, and they came forward with their stories before taking the stand to testify in court.
It’s worth noting that Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilina who presided over the sentencing hearing commented “You do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again, I just signed your death warrant.”
In the USOC letter, CEO Scott Blackmun said the USAG will lose its status unless the board resigns by Wednesday (the 30th) and an interim board is in place by February 28th. Three of the 21 board members resigned before this letter was sent, but the letter calls for the remaining 18 to also step down. Failure to do so will result in the status of the USAG (as the sport’s governing body) being terminated.
“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,” Blackmun wrote. “Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding.”
“Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding,” the USOC letter reads. “This was the overarching finding in the Daniels report and it was demonstrated again in the recent testimony of Nassar’s victims. Every athlete connected in any way with USAG must feel safe, supported, and encouraged to speak freely about threats to their safety.”
NBC News has images of the letter, you can see those here.
Per CNN, the USAG said in a statement:
“Completely embraces the requirements outlined in Blackmun’s letter and appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change for the betterment of our organization, our athletes and our clubs. The requirements imposed by the letter will help us enhance our ability to build a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with an increased focus on athlete safety and well-being. Our commitment is uncompromising, and we hope everything we do makes this very clear.”