US Olympic system failed abused gymnasts: USOC

USOC Chair Larry Probst in Pyeong Chang

Sen. Tim Scott joined colleagues on Thursday to unveil a resolution that would ultimately establish a special committee in the Senate to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics regarding how team Dr. Larry Nassar was allowed to sexually abuse female gymnasts for more than two decades.

Probst said the USOC might look to change its relationship with United States national sport governing bodies, with a subcommittee expected to report in April.

"He has served the USOC with distinction", Probst said.

Hours before the start of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, USOC chairman Larry Probst said there will be no personnel changes made by the board of directors until an investigation is completed into who knew what and when. The former team physician has been sentenced in MI to between 40 and 125 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 200 gymnasts.

"To the women, both those who chose to testify and those who did not, who have demonstrated tremendous bravery, poise and strength in the most hard circumstances imaginable, let me say this: the Olympic system failed you and we are so incredibly sorry", Probst said.

"Words can not express the anger that the board and leadership of the US Olympic Committee and me personally feel about the human toll that Larry Nassar's abuse has taken on these young women and their families".

Maybe I'm the fool for wanting to leave that room with some sense of satisfaction, something to offset the feelings American bobsled veteran Elana Meyers Taylor had earlier tapped into when she called the Nassar case "one of the most horrific things I've seen in sports" and said "I look up to the women in gymnastics". But none of the USOC board members have stepped down in spite of a number of victim impact statements, including that of six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, that accused the federation of enabling Nassar's decades of abuse. Probst repeatedly said that it was the Olympic system, including the IOC and global federations, which failed the young gymnasts, not just the United States.

Also Friday, Probst said the USA would not bid for the 2026 Winter Games but will keep its options open for 2030.

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"The moment of reckoning we are experiencing in the United States is extremely painful, especially for the women involved".

"We think that he did what he was supposed to do", Probst said of Blackmun.

Probst conceded Friday the organization has taken too long to reach out to gymnasts. "We're doing that now", he said.

On Monday, Nassar was handed an additional 40 to 125 years for three separate counts of sexual assault in Eaton County, Michigan.

He is also serving a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions. "It's something we're all looking at closely at discussing", said Angela Ruggiero, the International Olympic Committee athletes commission chair and a former U.S. ice hockey player. "I felt he's done a great job for us and deserves to have everything cleared".

If the U.S. Olympic Committee is going to bid for the Winter Games soon, it will be a bid for 2030, not 2026. The IOC was supposed to award only the 2024 Olympics last September.

Sion in Switzerland, Calgary in Canada, Sapporo in Japan and Stockholm in Sweden are part of the IOC's bid Dialogue Stage.

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