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USOC Demands Resignation of USA Gymnastics Board
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The United States Olympic Committee has ordered the USA Gymnastics board to resign immediately or face decertification, as fallout from the Larry Nassar tragedy continues. Pictured: Olympians Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber watch the hearing of former doctor Larry Nassar on Friday in Lansing, MIchigan.

The United States Olympic Committee has ordered the USA Gymnastics board to resign immediately or face decertification, as fallout from the Larry Nassar tragedy continues following his sentencing.

In an email letter sent Thursday by USOC President Scott Blackmun to USA Gymnastics, Blackmun issued a list of demands that USA Gymnastics must comply with to maintain its status as the national governing body of gymnastics in the United States. At the top of the list of the USOC's demands were the resignation of the remaining members of the board, which must be done within a week, followed by the formation of an interim board, which must be done within the next month.

"If USAG cannot or does not achieve steps 1 through 6 above promptly and clearly, the USOC will have no choice but to pursue termination of USAG's NGB status," Blackmun wrote. "In order to avoid immediate termination proceedings, USAG must complete all the steps set out above, including achieving step 1 by January 31, 2018 and step 2 by February 28, 2018."

USA Gymnastics issued a statement but did not state the board members have all immediately resigned, which was the No. 1 item on a list of six requirements the USOC is demanding of USAG. The federation deleted the "Board of Directors" page on its website (which was up until yesterday).

"USA Gymnastics completely embraces the requirements outlined in the Jan. 25, 2017 letter from the United States Olympic Committee and appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change for the betterment of our organization, our athletes and our clubs," USA Gymnastics said in a statement posted to its website. "We understand that the requirements imposed by the letter will help us enhance our ability to build a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with an increased focus on athlete safety and well-being. Our commitment is uncompromising, and we hope everything we do makes this very clear."

Following four days of testimony in the Nassar hearing in Lansing, Michigan, Olympic champions Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman delivered powerful victim impact statements accusing USA Gymnastics and the USOC of subjecting athletes to an abusive environment that allowed a sexual predator to target vulnerable women. Pressure by the USOC is reportedly what led to the resignations of USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley this past Monday, but the other board members have refused to resign for reasons unknown.

Multiple gymnasts and other women described how Nassar's exploited the cruel and abusive environment at the Karolyi camp and Geddert's Twistars USA Club to groom the young women. He was allowed unfettered access to young girls and apparently challenged by nobody, even drugging McKayla Maroney with a sleeping pill in order to assault her in his hotel room at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.

On Tuesday, 2010 world team member Mattie Larson shared a heartbreaking story of physical, psychology and sexual abuse so severe she attempted to injure herself to avoid going to the Karolyi ranch for the national team training camp. Nassar helped turn the sport she loved into a living hell, Larson said.

"The shocking and tragic stories surrounding Larry Nassar's years-long abuse of vulnerable athletes are now well known to all of us and the recently concluded Nassar sentencing hearings served to drive home the impact on individual victims in a way we will never forget," Blackmun wrote. "We must take further action to ensure that it cannot happen again."

For some, the USOC action's is too little, too late. During testimonies the USOC was called out repeatedly for its failure to protect gymnasts, some of whom were subject to assaults by Nassar at the Karolyi camp, the women's gymnastics national training center that served as an official U.S. Olympic Training Center, as well as at the Olympic Games themselves. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the USOC.

At Nassar's sentencing over the last week in Ingham County, Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina expressed repeated disgust and outrage, and several times she was astonished at the number of felonies that Nassar could potentially be charged with. She asked for a massive investigation at the federal level to look into at failure to stop the predator, who was reported so many times over the years. He was even arrested and subject to investigations, but always escaped with his reputation intact.

Attorney John Manly, who represents many of the women currently suing in state and federal court, called on USOC to decertify USA Gymnastics early last year.

Blackmun's letter praised USA Gymnastics on its achievements in the past year but failed to call out the organization's many failures that have angered athletes and caused all its major sponsors to either flee. AT&T, title sponsor of the American Cup in March, was the most recent to cut off financial support, suspending its sponsorship last week.

Click here to read the letter from the USOC in PDF format.

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