Simone Biles And Other Gymnasts Reportedly Call On Congress To Remove U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Board

2 weeks ago 21

Topline

Gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols asked Congress Wednesday to dissolve the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Board (USOPC), according to The Wall Street Journal, due to its mishandling of allegations of abuse by U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: U.S. gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly ... [+] Raisman testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

The Olympians wrote in a letter sent to Congress, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, that they believed the “Board’s past actions” show “an unwillingness” to address abuse in the athletic community and “continued refusal” to reform what they consider a “broken Olympic system.”

They claimed that the U.S. Olympic committee knew about Nassar’s sexual assault allegations since 2015, but “took no investigative action,” and said top-ranking U.S. Olympic officials in power during that time are still in “positions of influence at the USOPC and USOPC Foundation.”

The gymnasts also asked Congress to hire leadership that is “willing and able” to investigate the “systemic problem of sexual abuse within Olympic organizations” and “efforts to conceal it.”

Forbes has reached out to the representation for Biles, Nichols and Raisman and the USOPC for comment. 

Key Background

The request comes a few weeks after the four gymnasts testified in front of Congress claiming the FBI botched its investigation into Nassar, saying the agency​​ “failed to handle their most basic duties.” Biles, Raisman, Nichols and Maroney have been outspoken about the abuses they experienced under Nassar, which they say were “enabled and perpetrated” by the gymnastics system, including USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Board. Nassar was arrested in 2016 for child abuse and possession of child pornography, one year after USA Gymnastics and U.S. Olympic officials found out about the allegations against him. Nassar pled guilty to child pornography charges, evidence tampering and sexual assault and was convicted in 2018.

Tangent

Congress would be able to dissolve the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Board of Directors under a new law, called the “Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019,” which was passed last year in light of the Nassar sexual abuse scandal. It also holds sports officials legally accountable for protecting their athletes.

Further Reading

Simone Biles, Other Elite Gymnasts Slam FBI For ‘Failed’ Nassar Investigation (Forbes)

Olympics Committee Failed to Act on Nassar’s Alleged Abuse for a Full Year (The Wall Street Journal)

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