Simon Biles and three other top US gymnasts have called for the departure of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee board in a letter to Congress. Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols say the USOPC Board of Directors did not take sufficient action in the abuse case involving team physician Larry Nassar. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison in early 2018 for sexually assaulting hundreds of young gymnasts.
Among those victims were four-time Olympic champions Biles, Maroney, Raisman and Nichols. They believe that the National Committee erred in its handling of the scandal. “The Board’s actions demonstrate its unwillingness to address the chronic problems of abuse,” the letter said.
The USOPC said in a response that it has already implemented major governance changes in recent years. The letter to Congress underscores their concern and we find it so courageous for the victims that they continue to raise awareness about these issues. The letter refers to issues the USOPC has been addressing for more than two years. We continue to do this every day. We have implemented the most dramatic governance changes in two decades and are fully committed to tackling sexual assault at every level of the sport.”
The top division of USA Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics, resigned in 2018 at the behest of USOPC after the scale of the scandal became apparent. The director of the Olympic Committee also left during that time. The USOPC has apologized to the gymnasts after Nassar’s conviction for handling the case.
Last month, Beals and other former gymnasts were heard as witnesses by a US Senate committee investigating possible FBI failures in the Nassar case. The police department is said to have reacted very reluctantly when the first signals were received, allowing the sexual assault to continue for months.
In the Netherlands, several former gymnasts emerged last year with stories about coaches’ behavior across borders. The umbrella sports organization NOC*NSF apologized to the victims on Monday. They will all receive €5,000 in compensation for the suffering they have suffered.
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