The Downfall of USA Gymnastics

Mary+Bono+resigned+after+four+days+in+her+position+as+USA+Gymnastics+president.+
Mary Bono resigned after four days in her position as USA Gymnastics president.

Mary Bono resigned after four days in her position as USA Gymnastics president.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, via Getty images

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, via Getty images

Mary Bono resigned after four days in her position as USA Gymnastics president.

Sydney Dunlap, Staff Reporter

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USA Gymnastics helped introduce the world to some of the greatest athletes in the sport, but it also employed a criminal that was the center of one of the biggest scandals ever seen. A complaint against Larry Nassar, the team doctor, was first submitted in 2015, but an investigation was not started until nine months later. Nassar was eventually brought to justice and will live the rest of his life behind bars. Over 150 girls accused Nassar of sexual assault after he used his medical position to abuse the gymnasts under his care. However, this punishment did not fully satisfy many of the victims since they suspected that leadership at USA Gymnastics protected Nassar and prevented him from being brought to court earlier. Most recent USA Gymnastics president Mary Bono resigned after four days on the job. This comes after a number of officials at the organization have stepped down following tough criticism due to the Nassar scandal. Bono replaced Kerry Perry who had only been on the job for nine months before she resigned. After taking her position, Bono faced outrage after tweets resurfaced of her criticizing Nike, one of Simone Biles’ biggest sponsors. Bono’s most significant conflict has her association with Faegre Baker Daniels law firm which was associated with Nassar. A former attorney at the firm helped USA Gymnastics create false statements for Nassar when the controversy first gained attention. Bono claims she was not involved in the firm’s work with USA Gymnastics, but her relationship raised questions about the organization’s motives.

Gold medalist Aly Raisman expressed her disapproval of the organization’s choice tweeting, “My teammates & I reported Nassar’s abuse to USAG in 2015. We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary Bono’s firm) were also told then, yet Nassar continued to abuse children for 13 months. Why hire someone associated with the firm that helped cover up our abuse?” Bono took on the job a month after Perry resigned, but decided to leave after she received harsh criticism from the organization’s athletes and fans. In her statement, she said, “My withdrawal comes in the wake of personal attacks that, left undefended, would have made my leading USAG a liability for the organization.”

A number of other officials at USA Gymnastics have left the organization following the scandal. This includes development coordinator Mary Lee Tracy and the head of the women’s program, Rhonda Faehn. Sophomore Gracie Sandige expressed her thoughts on the situation stating, “I think that USAG is in need of strong leadership. I do not think that Mary Bono should be able to lead USAG because of her past involvement with the Nassar case. USAG needs to find leadership that will help the organization to grow and become stronger.” The organization has not yet announced who the new president will be.

About the Writer
Sydney Dunlap, Staff Reporter

Sydney Dunlap is a sophomore at WHHS and this is her first year on the staff of The Herald. She enjoys being involved in her school through multiple clubs and organizations. One of her favorite pastimes is going to Wade Hampton sporting events and cheering on the Generals from the student section or taking pictures on the sidelines. She works on homework, plays with her dogs, and spends time with friends most days after school. When she’s at home, Sydney and her triplet sisters can often be seen watching The Office on repeat. Her ideal weekend would be spent outdoors in the mountains or by the lake with her family and friends. Sydney is so excited to be a part of The Herald staff this year!  

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