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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Star gymnasts call on Congress to dissolve US Olympics board

Four star gymnasts have penned a letter to Congress calling on them to dissolve the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) board of directors.

The gymnasts — Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols — wrote in the letter to Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranBiden sidesteps GOP on judicial vacancies, for now It’s time for Congress to act before slow mail turns into no mail Kaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate MORE (R-Kan.) that the organization had failed to do its duty in properly handling and investigating their allegations against former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, the Orange County Register reported

All four previously testified before Congress about the FBI’s failure to address sexual assault and harassment allegations made against Nassar.

“We make this request after years of patience, deliberation, and unrequited commitment to learn from our suffering and make amateur sports safe for future generations,” the four said in their letter, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We believe the Board’s past actions demonstrate an unwillingness to confront the endemic problems with abuse that athletes like us have faced and a continued refusal to pursue true and necessary reform of the broken Olympic system.”

The gymnasts’ letter comes as the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the USOPC are under scrutiny for their handling of allegations made against Nassar dating back to 2015. The gymnasts alleged that the USOPC “took no investigative action after learning that Nassar was an abuser.”

Testifying before Congress in September, Biles said, “To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar — and I also blame an entire system that perpetrated his abuse.”

The Empowering Olympians and Paralympians and Amateur Athlete Act of 2020, which the two senators authored, gives Congress the ability to dissolve the board of the directors at the USOPC, among other features, according to the Orange County Register.

“We believe it is time for Congress to exercise its authority over the organization it created by replacing the entire USOPC board with leadership willing and able to do what should have been done long ago: Responsibly investigate the systemic problem of sexual abuse within Olympic organizations — including the USOPC — and all efforts to conceal it,” the four women wrote, according to the Orange County Register.

The Hill has reached out to the USOPC and lawmakers’ offices for comment.

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