USOC Says It Has Considered Decertifying USAG For Months
USOC Chief External Affairs Officer Patrick Sandusky indicated that the organization for months had "considered severing" USA Gymnastics' ties to Olympic sports and "ending its authority over the sport," according to Juliet Macur of the N.Y. TIMES. The USOC on Monday moved to revoke USAG's status as a member governing body after the organization had grown "increasingly frustrated" as USAG "stumbled in its attempts to move forward after the Nassar scandal and gain the trust of the gymnastics community and its leading athletes." USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland had been considering stripping USAG of its "powers as a national governing body, known as decertification, since moving into her job in August." She decided last weekend to "make the move after the national team returned" from the world championships. The process of "moving toward decertification could take months." In the meantime, the USOC will "manage the elite national teams." It is still "trying to figure out how it will manage the federation’s other responsibilities, like overseeing local gyms, certifying coaches and managing its legal liabilities in litigation stemming from the sexual abuse scandal" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/9).
RAISMAN ADVOCATES FOR OVERHAUL: In West Palm Beach, Lulu Ramadan notes gymnast Aly Raisman continued to "call for an overhaul of management" of USAG following the USOC's move. Raisman during an appearance at a Boca Raton synagogue said, "I can’t even understand why they’re putting up such a fight. I think it shows how corrupt they are and how much they’re trying to cover up. Those people need to be gone." She added that she has been "trying to work with the organization on fixing its flaws and protecting athletes in the future." Raisman: "I hope one day USA Gymnastics is the leader in sexual abuse prevention. Right now, we look at them as an example of what not to do" (PALM BEACH POST, 11/9). Raisman on Tuesday responded to the decertification process, writing on her Twitter account, "I believe this is a significant step forward that is necessary for the overall health and well-being of the sport and its athletes. Change is not easy, and the unknown can be scary, but we need to do whatever it takes to ensure nothing like this ever happens again" (TWITTER.com, 11/6). Other current and former Olympic gymnasts also have weighed in on the USOC's move. Simone Biles said, "It's a start in the right direction. But then again, we still need a strong leader for the head of our company and I think it goes from there. But all we can do is sit down and watch and hope for the best” (“Today,” NBC, 11/9). Dominique Moceanu said, "It is a tough and confusing time for our sport, its athletes and the fans. But it’s also a time of great hope. I look forward to the gymnastics community emerging from all of this better and stronger -- with a new leadership that has its priorities in order" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/7).
HELP FROM CAPITOL HILL: In DC, Sally Jenkins wrote Congress "deserves the congratulations for dragging the USOC, heels digging-in-the-dirt," to start the process of disbanding USAG. Jenkins: "Forget 'decertification.' Not until we have a thorough and transparent examination of the entire USOC can it be trusted to rebuild anything in a trustworthy way." But the "success of members of Congress in forcing accountability up to this point provides hope, and a relief from weary cynicism" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/8).