FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2018, file photo, Larry Nassar sits during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Mich. Lawyers for the imprisoned former sports doctor on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, filed motions in Ingham County asking that he be re-sentenced by a different judge in the first of the major molestation cases he faced. Nassar, who’s serving a 60-year federal sentence for possessing child pornography, was also sentenced to up to 175 years in state prison for molesting young athletes. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2018, file photo, Larry Nassar sits during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Mich. Lawyers for the imprisoned former sports doctor on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, filed motions in Ingham County asking that he be re-sentenced by a different judge in the first of the major molestation cases he faced. Nassar, who’s serving a 60-year federal sentence for possessing child pornography, was also sentenced to up to 175 years in state prison for molesting young athletes. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

USOC moves to shut down USA Gymnastics after Nassar scandal

The announcement comes only days after the U.S. team brought home nine medals from the World Championships

The U.S. Olympic Committee is moving to revoke USA Gymnastics’ status as the governing body for the sport at the Olympic level, meting out the nuclear option to an organization that has botched its own reorganization in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar.

In an open letter to the gymnastics community Monday, USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said “you deserve better,” and that the challenges facing USA Gymnastics are more than it is capable of overcoming as currently constructed.

The organization, even with a newly constituted board of directors, made repeated mistakes after the revelations Nassar molested Olympians while working as a volunteer.

Those included the botched hiring of a program co-ordinator and an interim CEO to replace Kerry Perry, who lasted barely nine months on the job after replacing Steve Penny.

“This is a situation where there are no perfect solutions,” Hirshland said.

RELATED: Michigan State agrees to pay $500M to settle Nassar claims with 332 victims

The announcement comes only days after the U.S. team brought home nine medals from the World Championships in the first major meet on the lead-up to the Tokyo Games in 2020. Five of those were individual medals won by Olympic champion Simone Biles, who is among the athletes who have not hesitated to criticize the organization.

By decertifying USA Gymnastics, the USOC is taking major action against an organization that couldn’t grasp its own rebuilding. But the move also leaves a void that cannot be easily filled. In addition to supporting elite and Olympic athletes, USA Gymnastics serves more than 150,000 athletes in 3,000 clubs around the country. There is no other organization standing by to fill that need.

The federal law that governs the USOC gives the federation final say on which organizations represent each sport at the Olympics, and also establishes a process to decertify the organizations. Hirshland said she has given USA Gymnastics the option of surrendering its recognition voluntarily.

USAG issued a statement saying it was looking at the USOC letter “and is evaluating the best path forward for our athletes, professional members, the organization and staff.”

The statement detailed the challenges the new board has faced since taking over in June.

It is in search of its fourth president and CEO in the last 19 months thanks to a series of resignations, all of them under pressure from the USOC or the gymnastics’ community at large.

Penny — named as a co-defendant in several civil lawsuits filed by former elite gymnasts— stepped down in March 2017. He was arrested last month and charged with destroying or hiding documents related to Nassar’s activities at the Karolyi Ranch, the ex-national training centre near Huntsville, Texas, where a number of gymnasts said Nassar abused them.

The organization named Perry as Penny’s replacement but her ineffectual tenure lasted barely nine months. She came under fire from several high-profile gymnasts, Biles included, for failing to offer a clear vision on the way forward and quit in September. Her resignation came shortly after the hiring, then quick removal, of Mary Lee Tracy as elite development co-ordinator; Tracy had been supportive of Nassar when the allegations first surfaced.

RELATED: Colin Kaepernick’s Nike deal prompts #justburnit reaction on social media

USA Gymnastics brought on former U.S. Representative Mary Bono to serve as interim president and CEO last month. Bono didn’t even make it a week, stepping away after drawing widespread criticism for an Instagram post she made shortly before she was hired that showed her coloring over the Nike logo on her golf cleats in response to the company putting former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the forefront of a marketing campaign.

Eddie Pells, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton bylaw services department. (Submitted file photo)
Mayor tries again for more bylaw officers

Mayor John Vassilaki wants to see bylaw offer seven day a week services with extended hours

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

From left to right, Slackwater Brewing’s assistant brewer Carri Kemp, co-founder Kelsey Peyton & shareholder Lyndi Cruickshank. Slackwater Brewing is releasing their second annual brew for International Women’s Day on March 8. (Submitted)
Slackwater’s female brewmasters are “Making Waves” with their latest beer release

Making Waves is available across B.C. on March 8 in honour of International Women’s Day

Penticton City Hall
Penticton City Hall continues with COVID-19 reduced hours

One year ago, city hall cut its hours in half, now it’s the only municipality left doing so

Penticton Golf and Country Club was in full swing on opening day on March 2. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Golf in full swing on opening day at Penticton course

All tee times are booked into the next two weeks at the Penticton Golf and Country Club

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Princeton Meals of Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Langley RCMP will be collecting donations for the local food bank at the Willoughby Town Centre parking lot (20678 Willoughby Town Centre Drive near the Royal Bank) on Saturday Dec. 19 from noon till 4 p.m. (file)
Driver being arrested for alleged fraudulent food order rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Kelowna Olympian Malindi Elmore has been honoured locally for her contributions to the sport of running. She is one of five Okanagan athletes who received an athletic excellence award from PacificSport Okanagan, this week. (Contributed/UBC Okanagan)
Okanagan athletes, coaches honoured for achievements during pandemic

Among them, Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore and Jacob Rubuliak named Community Sport Heroes

Most Read