Gymnastics: US Olympic chiefs vow to press on with USA Gymnastics action

The United States Olympic Committee decision to disband USA Gymnastics was taken after the organisation stumbled from one crisis to the next as it struggled to rebuild after the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.
The United States Olympic Committee decision to disband USA Gymnastics was taken after the organisation stumbled from one crisis to the next as it struggled to rebuild after the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The United States Olympic Committee (Usoc) said Wednesday (Nov 21) it will press ahead with plans to disband USA Gymnastics, after the scandal-tarnished organisation refused to give up its status as the sport's governing body.

Usoc announced earlier this month that Olympic chiefs had begun proceedings to decertify USA Gymnastics, accusing it of failing to grapple with reforms after the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Usoc said in a statement Wednesday that USA Gymnastics had responded to the decision in a letter sent to Olympic chiefs on Monday.

"In that letter they did not choose to relinquish recognition as a national governing body, and instead asked a series of questions that relate to the matter and the Section 8 hearing process," Usoc chief executive Sarah Hirshland said.

Section 8 is the Usoc bylaw that sets out the rules regarding a national governing body being decertified.

"Thus, in addition to working with Usag on their questions, we will ensure that the Section 8 process goes forward without delay," Hirshland added.

Usoc said there was no fixed time frame for the process.

"A formal time frame is not described in our bylaws, so I don't know exactly how long this process may take," Hirshland said.

"At minimum, we expect it will take several weeks, perhaps a few months."

 
 

The Usoc decision to disband USA Gymnastics was taken after the organisation stumbled from one crisis to the next as it struggled to rebuild after the Nassar abuse case, the worst scandal in US Olympic history.

Former US team doctor Nassar was jailed for life earlier this year after abusing more than 250 athletes, including several stars of the United States' gold medal-winning teams at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Hirshland meanwhile reiterated that the decision to disband USA Gymnastics had not been taken lightly.

"As we've said before, this is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions," Hirshland said.

"Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that the Usoc came to easily, but we continue (to) believe it is the right action.

"While there are important questions to answer as we move forward with this process, we are eager for the hearing panel to begin its work and for our board to come to a final determination."