Nov. 5 (UPI) — The U.S. Olympic Committee on Monday began the process of decertifying USA Gymnastics as the governing body of the sport after high-profile legal proceedings regarding sexual misconduct.
The so-called nuclear option means the organization no longer will be in charge of the sport at the Olympic level.
“This is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions,” USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement. “Seeking to revoke recognition is not a conclusion that we have come to easily.”
The move comes weeks after USA Gymnastics’ interim CEO, Mary Bono, resigned over a since-deleted tweet critical of Nike’s choice to use NFL free agency quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign. Bono replaced former CEO Kerry Perry, who resigned in September in the wake of the trial of former team doctor Larry Nassar.
Nassar is serving what amounts to a life sentence in Michigan for sexually abusing more than 250 people, many children. Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman, who was one of Nassar’s abuse victims, sued the USOC and USA Gymnastics, saying the organizations knew or should have known he molested her while giving her medical treatment.
Hirshland said the USOC would determine what organization will take charge of Olympic-level gymnastics in the United States.
“We are prepared to identify and help build such an organization,” she said.
“While each of you has overcome adversity in different ways, some facing unimaginably terrible situations, everyone now faces the difficult reality of belonging to a national organization that continues to struggle to change its culture, to rebuild its leadership and to effectively serve its membership.” Hirshland said in an open letter to gymnasts.
“You deserve better.”
USA Gymnastics issued a statement saying it was reviewing its “best path forward.”
“We want you to know, we will continue to serve the thousands of young athletes, coaches, club owners, judges and administrators who make up our organization,” the organization said. “Our commitment will always be to ensure the health and safety of our members while they pursue their love of the sport. We know this continues to be a difficult time for our organization, and we are so appreciative of all that you do to support our gymnastics community.”