USA Gymnastics decertification

USA gymnastics is trying to recover from scandal.

USA gymnastics is trying to recover from scandal.

Skyler DiLoreto, Staff Writer

Last year the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced that it would begin the process of decertifying USA Gymnastics (USAG). As of right now USAG is the most powerful gymnastics organization, as it is the body that chooses what gymnasts will be competing in the Olympics. Decertification would not only decrease their power but may take it away from them all together. While it is a somewhat overdue response, it is straightforward in its opinion of USAG’s failings concerning the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal and their dealings with it.

The Larry Nassar scandal involves the former USAG national team osteopathic physician and his sexual abuse of more than 265 women under the pretense of providing them medical treatment. The first public statements were made in September of 2016 and in July of 2017 Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison after he ple`d guilty to child porn charges. He has since had additional charges of sexual assault.

The decertifying of USAG has been widely accepted by most. Recently USAG has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, an action viewed by some as a way to delay some of the lawsuits filed against USAG by athletes harassed by Nassar. However, many have remained skeptical, as there is no guarantee of the decertification and USAG does currently remain an important fixture in the sport. Additionally the USOC is being sued alongside USAG and has been responsible for some of USAG’s most unpopular decisions, such as the hiring of former Congresswoman Mary Bono, who was forced to step down because of her involvement in covering up some of the first allegations against Nassar.

While the top-down reform efforts such as the Protecting Young Victims from sexual abuse and Safesport Authorization Act of 2017 or the US Center for SafeSport have become essential in protecting gymnasts, many say that this is still not enough. The idea of forming a union has become somewhat popular though there are many complications.

The sport of gymnastics has many unique factors when it comes to the idea of forming a union. For the most part (with women’s gymnastics) the athletes are between the ages of 16-20. Additionally, most gymnasts only compete actively for two years. The young ages and short career both lead to complications in the creation of a union.