Olympic champions including Simone Biles have made calls for Congress to disband the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s board of directors via a letter sent to a pair of senators amid a gymnastics sexual abuse scandal.
Biles has been joined by fellow Olympic gold medalists McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman and world champion Maggie Nichols in penning the correspondence, which was addressed to a pair of Democratic and Republican senators in Connecticut and Kansas, Richard Blumenthal and Jerry Moran.
The highest-profile athlete involved in the abuse scandal, Biles testified almost a month ago at a senate hearing into the way the FBI investigated Larry Nassar, and slammed the government body among others.
“I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured – before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse,” she said in her tearful opening statement.
“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.
“The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us… the impacts of this man’s abuse are not ever over or forgotten.
“USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge.
“We suffered and continue to suffer, because no one at the FBI, USAG, or the USOPC did what was necessary to protect us. We have been failed and we deserve answers. It really feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us.”
Maroney, another of the 330 women and girls abused by the now-incarcerated Nassar as he worked with USA Olympics and at Michigan University, also stated she had been molested for a seven-year period, starting when she was aged just 13.
“I was molested by the US gymnastics national team and Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar,” said Maroney in her own opening remarks. “And in actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor.”
“All we needed was one adult to do the right thing,” said Raisman, who filed a 2018 lawsuit against USA Gymnastics and the USOC, while 2015 team world champion Nichols was also present.
The quartet have now urged the US Senate to replace the entire Olympic and Paralympic board, and requested that a joint resolution must be passed by the first of November under the Empowering Olympians and Paralympians and Amateur Athlete Act of 2020, co-authored by the senators.
The legislation would place more liability on the committee and national governing bodies if sexual abuses by coaches and officials arise, and also allows Congress to dissolve the board if necessary.
“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,” wrote the group.
Republished from RT.com under Creative Commons License