Raisman no fan of interim US gym chief

Former Republican politician Mary Bono (pictured) will fill the role while USA Gymnastics searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who resigned last month.
Former Republican politician Mary Bono (pictured) will fill the role while USA Gymnastics searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who resigned last month.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • Three-time Olympic gold medallist Aly Raisman on Monday spoke out against USA Gymnastics' choice for its interim president and chief executive, saying survivors of sexual abuse "deserve better".

The criticism from Raisman, one of those sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, came three days after the sport's governing body in the United States named Mary Bono as its interim leader.

Raisman, in a series of posts on Twitter, took aim at Bono over her previous employment at a law firm that worked for USA Gymnastics when allegations against Nassar were being reported.

Nassar was jailed up to 175 years after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct in which he abused more than 250 athletes.

"My teammates & I reported Nassar's abuse to USAG in 2015," Raisman wrote.

"We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary Bono's firm) were also told then, yet Nassar continued to abuse children for 13 months!? Why hire someone associated with the firm that helped cover up our abuse?

"Clearly this is not a 'new' USAG. Same corrupt decisions. Survivors, current gymnasts, families, coaches, gymnastics community & fans deserve better."

 
 
 
 

Bono will fill the role while USA Gymnastics searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who resigned last month.

When asked by Reuters to comment on the criticism surrounding its choice for interim president, USA Gymnastics' board of directors said Bono's work at Faegre Baker Daniels was not related to any investigation.

Bono also faced criticism after it emerged she had tweeted a photo of someone using a black marker pen to colour over the Nike logo on a pair of shoes.

The photo, posted last month, was an apparent reference and opposition to Nike's advertising campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy by kneeling during the national anthem.

Nike-sponsored gymnast Simone Biles, another victim of Nassar, was stunned by Bono's post.

"*Mouth drop*," she wrote on Twitter on Saturday, adding, "Don't worry, it's not like we needed a smarter USA gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything." Bono has since deleted the photo and apologised.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2018, with the headline 'Raisman no fan of interim US gym chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe