The fallout of U.S. Gymnastics is justifiably not getting better any time soon. On the opening day of the Nastia Liukin Cup series, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman filed a lawsuit against not only U.S.A. Gymnastics, but also the U.S. Olympic Committee. In the suit, Raisman alleges that both entities knew or should have known about the abuse inflicted by Larry Nassar and failed to protect the USA gymnasts from Nassar. As we all know, Larry Nassar has been sentenced to 175 years of prison time. But, what will the repercussions be for the organizations who allowed this abuse to either slip past them, or worse, turned a blind eye?
Disgruntled with the lack of effort she had seen from USAG and USOC, Raisman decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. Raisman is suing for more than just her own personal relief regarding a serious act of negligence by two organizations that should be doing what they can to protect young amateur athletes. Raisman is also doing this for the future gymnasts who are passing through USAG, to provide better safeguards for these young athletes. Raisman has been quoted as saying “This is bigger than Larry Nassar . . . if we don’t figure out how [this disaster happened] we can’t be confident it won’t happen again.”
While USOC hired a firm to conduct an independent investigation of USAG, what is their plan for their own committee? You know, the ones who oversee the Olympic athletes within the United States, and certify organizations like USAG to be Olympic training groups? Even former CEO of USOC Scott Blackmun has been quoted as saying the USOC is one of the many groups who have failed these athletes throughout their careers. l While the suit is fairly new, I do think we will see a lot more information come to light about what both USAG and USOC not only knew about the allegations against Larry Nassar but also other patterns of abuse within the USAG community that USOC was aware of. Where there is smoke there is fire and USAG and USOC are rightfully about to get burned.
Also, I commend Aly Raisman for the tireless work she has put in to support her fellow gymnasts. She not only spoke at Nassar’s sentencing, but has been vocal about her concerns within the USAG community in their treatment of athletes. Even though she is not currently in the competitive circuit, she is taking the team captain duties she received while on the national team seriously in protecting the voiceless athletes within USAG. As a parent of a young competitive gymnast, I see someone like Aly as a role model for my daughter regarding the importance of speaking up for yourself and for those around you. I hope these suits, along with the investigation, bring some much needed changes to USAG. More to come on this, I’m sure!