USA Gymnastics hands ‘slap in the face’ to sex abuse victims
USA Gymnastics has been given an almighty whack by Olympic gold medallist Aly Raisman over their latest appointment.
Raisman came forward as one of a reported 330 women to accuse former American Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.
Nassar's trial made worldwide headlines earlier in the year after more than 160 women and girls provided statements.
The 54-year-old plead guilty to first-degree sex assault and was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.
Raisman lashed out on Wednesday following the decision to appoint Mary Lee Tracy as USA Gymnastics elite development co-ordinator.
"USA Gymnastics has appointed someone who, in my view, supported Nassar, victim-shamed survivors, has shown no willingness to learn from the past. This is a slap in the face for survivors, further confirmation that nothing at @USAGym has changed. What a profound disappointment!" Raisman tweeted.
Tracy had previously stated that Nassar was "amazing" after all of his work with Olympic gymnasts and didn't believe he could have done what was alleged.
"My Olympians have all worked with Larry. We were all defending him because he has helped so many kids in their careers. He has protected them, taken care of them, worked with me and worked with their parents. He's been amazing," Tracy told WCPO in 2016.
As the fallout from the explosive Nassar trial continues, the organisations decision to appoint Tracy looks like a backward step.
Raisman said since going public with allegations against Nassar, she had barely been able to work out.
The six-time Olympic medallist told The Improper Bostonian magazine, for a cover story published this week, that she was still regrouping and recovering after confronting Nassar.
"In the past few months I've barely worked out, which for someone who loves working out, that's saying a lot," the magazine quoted Raisman as saying.
After the trial, Raisman pledged to ontinue speaking out on behalf of women who were abused or otherwise victimised.
"I feel grateful that I'm being listened to and I'm being heard, because I've met so many people who have said, 'I spoke up but nobody listened,'" she said.
"I would like to be remembered for standing up for the right thing. It's always more important to do the right thing than to win medals.
"I'd like to change this generation and the next generation so that by the time I have kids, everyone will be educated, so a child never, ever has to say the words, 'Me too.'"
Many victims testified that Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment while on his examination table, sometimes hiding it from view of parents waiting nearby.
All five members of the USA's "Fierce Five" were among the group of women to come forward, with Kyla Ross describing a "culture of silence" among the camp.
"Being on national team for all those years, we were really silenced. We didn't really have a voice and say as athletes," Ross told CBS's This Morning.
Ross appeared on the television show along with fellow teammate Madison Kocian, who described the relationship with Nassar as like a family member.
"It was almost like a family member," Kocian said. "And he would on international trips, he would bring us food.
"Or he would just kind of be the person that would always ask, 'How are you doing?' Because the culture that was at the Karolyi Ranch was a culture of fear, a culture of silence.
"And that's what led him to be able to abuse us."
In one of the most powerful moments seen on live television, 141 victims stood hand-in-hand on stage at the ESPY awards in a symbol of strength and survival.
The display, which occurred at the end of the annual awards show, was just as confronting as it was powerful.
The images of the victims gathered together on stage, being greeted by a round of applause by the biggest names in American sport, left commentators with chills.
The scene's power was hammered home when Raisman declared there were still many of Nassar's victims who were not part of the "sea of bravery" the group formed.
Her speech was confronting while incredibly damning of the systems and procedures that allowed Nassar to prey on his victims.
Raisman continues to stick to her pledge and her condemnation of the latest appointment by USA Gymnastic's is just another powerful message being delivered.
Following the airing of the This Morning show, USA Gymnastics said in a statement it was "heartbroken" Ross and Kocian were among Nassar's victims, adding "their powerful voices and stories will continue to be a basis for our future decisions"
But it seems those future decisions have fallen by the wayside, at least according to former team captain Raisman.
- with AP