After years of abuse, the team members of USA Gymnastics have boldly come forward to share their stories of sexual misconduct experienced under the hand of team doctor Larry Nassar. In an effort to sever all ties from those former painful experiences, the organization has made another bold move.
On Thursday they announced that the women’s team will no longer be held at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas, which had been its home since 2001, reported CNN. Though the ranch is a symbol of American might on the international Olympic stage, the memories experienced there by many of the female athletes are just too painful to endure again.
Simon Biles, a four-time gold medalist from the 2016 Olympics, said earlier that she was abused at the Karolyi Ranch. She issued a statement earlier in the week that it would be devastating to know that she would have to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the ranch.
"It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020,” said Biles in a statement. “I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused.”
“USA Gymnastics has terminated its agreement with the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas,” said Kerry Perry, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in a series of tweets on Thursday. “It will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center.”
While the organization abruptly canceled next week’s training camp, it simultaneously is exploring alternative sites to host training facilities and camps. It is hoped that a permanent location can be found in a reasonable amount of time.
“Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this. We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes,” said Perry.
More than 60 victims have come forward in speaking out against Nassar. It is expected that as many as 100 victims will testify throughout the week. Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual criminal conduct in Ingham County in his role as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
As a plea deal, he admitted that he had used his power as a highly respected medical professional to sexually abuse young girls on the ruse that he was trying to provide them medical help.
Please pray for the victims of this horrific act, and that God will bring healing. In recent news, a new scandal is embroiling the banking giant Wells Fargo. If you have an account there, you might want to read this.