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Fallout Between USA Gymnastics And U.S. Olympic Committee Continues

Jan 26, 2018
Originally published on January 26, 2018 7:34 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

USA Gymnastics says its entire board of directors will resign. This comes after the U.S. Olympic Committee threatened to revoke the organization's status as a national governing body for the sport of gymnastics. It's the latest fallout from the Larry Nassar case.

The sentencing of Nassar, the former team doctor, has focused scrutiny on institutions associated with him, including both USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Juliet Macur has been writing about all this for The New York Times. Welcome back to the show.

JULIET MACUR: Thank you.

KELLY: What is your reaction to news of the entire board stepping down?

MACUR: It's about time. The USOC sent a letter just yesterday requesting that the entire board step down and all this reorganization going on with USA Gymnastics. But that letter is probably a year and a half too late.

KELLY: The letter that you mentioned laid out six demands. This demand that the entire board step aside was the first one. What else leapt out at you in terms of what the U.S. Olympic Committee is calling for?

MACUR: They're calling for the new USAG board to have ethics training, which I thought was interesting, that they might not be trained in ethics already...

KELLY: Yeah.

MACUR: ...And also sexual abuse awareness training, which you would figure is necessary for any organization that governs tens of thousands of young people in sports. So the USOC said USA Gymnastics has to go through that training if they want to remain the governing body of the sport of gymnastics.

KELLY: This is the SafeSport training that is supposed to already be in place. Is it working? Is it enough?

MACUR: The problem with this is we don't know if it's working or if it's enough because we're not sure how many girls or boys or men and women out there have reported to this organization. And we haven't really heard about any numbers or any information from SafeSport on how successful they've been. So that's the biggest question - is how good is this new organization going to be in tackling these problems that obviously have been a gigantic problem for the USOC and USA Gymnastics?

KELLY: You know, it strikes me that this is a list of demands coming from the U.S. Olympic Committee to USA Gymnastics. Is the Olympic Committee blameless here?

MACUR: Absolutely not. I mean, they would like to think that they are blameless, but I think that we'll find out exactly how much blame should be placed on them based on all these investigations that have been called for.

KELLY: Yeah. I mean, who are they accountable to, the U.S. Olympic Committee?

MACUR: Well, they would like to think nobody. But they are accountable to Congress. So Congress has asked for an investigation as to how and why this happened both with the USOC and the USA Gymnastics.

KELLY: Yeah. I mean, we should note that this is not the first time that instances, allegations of sexual abuse have come up with Olympic sports, something - you have the swim team and the many coaches who've been banned from coaching in that sport.

MACUR: Yeah. I think the biggest takeaway from all of this is just this is not a gymnastics problem. This is a problem that goes on in every single sport in America likely, not necessarily at the level of Larry Nassar. But what the USOC and all these federations can do is take a good look at their regulations and fix them so this doesn't happen again.

KELLY: Juliet Macur, thank you.

MACUR: Thank you.

KELLY: Juliet Macur - she writes the Sports of the Times column for The New York Times. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.