A flipping disaster

USA Gymnastics, A National Governing Body for gymnastics in the US, is no longer known for the gold medals or the athletic stars that represent them. The organization is now known for scandals and bad decisions that have led them to bankruptcy.  

        The most notable event in the history of USA Gymnastics was when more than 200 gymnasts accused athletic doctor Lawrence G. Nassar of sexual assault. The organization offered the athletes $215 million in hopes to settle legal claims among the athletes. Despite their offer, the women did not accept.

The incident not only caught the attention of the athletic world, it also spread like wildfire throughout the media. It even made its way onto Netflix in 2020 with the documentary “Athlete A.”

It’s beyond me how USA Gymnastics managed to be oblivious to Nassar’s abuse for years. After hearing about the effects of this scandal, I thought the organization would be more inclined to prevent any sort of abuse from happening under their name agin. I was wrong.

Last year, 11 gymnasts came out accusing top coach Maggie Haney of verbal abuse. Haney was previously known for her ruthlessness but USA Gymnastics never went out of their way to control the issue even after the incident with Nassar. According to The New York Times, Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez said that Haney “forced them to train through injuries, mocked them and made an effort to silence their complaints and undermine the girls’ relationship with their parents.”

When it comes to abuse within the organization, incidents seem to be ignored until made public. Nasser had worked for USA Gymnastics since 1986 and his abuse was not recognized until 2016 when the accusations started coming out. With that, Haney worked under the organization for eight years until accused.

More recently, USA Gymnastics sparked even more controversy when they announced their multi-year agreement with FloSports. FloSports previously made the mistake of leaking a nude photo of Olympic champion McKayla Maroney when she was just a minor. Despite this,  USA Gymnastics continued to agree to a five-year digital streaming deal with the company.  

Maroney’s attorney John Manly told The Orange County Register that “USA Gymnastics is simply in the business of inflicting pain on survivors.” He then went on to say that “any organization that circulates nude images of minors should be reported to the FBI and prosecuted.”

USA Gymnastics lacks sympathy when it comes to their athletes. This can be shown in how they continued to trust FloSports even after they humiliated one of their previous athletes.

They have also left a bad impression on their current athletes. After seeing how USA Gymnastics handled the Nassar scandal, Olympian and survivor Simon Biles has lost trust in the organization.

“There’s still a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Just who knew what, when? You guys [USA Gymnastics] have failed so many athletes — and most of us underage. You guys don’t think that’s a bigger problem?” Biles said to the HuffPost.

The way Biles explains her rage by asking the obvious demonstrates that every wrong step this organization has made could have been prevented. However, USA Gymnastics fails to learn from previous mistakes.