Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman on Friday called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to first complete a full independent investigation into USA Gymnastics before the sport’s governing body elects new leaders.
Raisman tweeted her statement to the USOC in response to their letter to USAG on Thursday, in which they called for the entire board of directors to resign or else the sport’s governing body would lose their certification.
On Friday, USAG said it would comply with the USOC’s request to have all members of the board’s remaining 18 members resign. USAG chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley resigned Monday.
In the Thursday letter, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun gave the USAG a list of steps it must take to reform the organization, including electing an interim board by the end of next month and cooperating in an independent investigation.
Raisman, however, believes that the investigation should be completed ― and all the people who enabled Larry Nassar’s abuse ousted ― before new members are elected to the board.
“I feel very strongly that unless and until an independent investigation is competed, we cannot be sure (1) we know the full extent of the problem, (2) that all the people who contributed to the problem have been removed and replaced, and (3) that the changes will effectively address the problem,” Raisman said in the statement.
The gymnast insisted that Nassar had more victims who haven’t yet spoken out and said that it was necessary to uncover any USAG staff or board members who may have “fostered” Nassar’s actions.
“What possible reason could there be for not making it a priority to know these things,” Raisman asked. “If we don’t investigate, it’s possible an individual who enabled Nassar could be appointed to the board OR the board could have the difficult task of overseeing staff that enabled Nassar.”
Raisman offered the USOC her own set of requirements, asking Blackmun to ensure the investigation operates “with complete independence” and requesting that the investigation’s findings be made public at the same time it’s delivered to the USOC and USAG.
Raisman, who was one of more than a hundred women who were molested by Nassar, has become one of the most vocal proponents to demand public accountability from the individuals and organizations who enabled Nassar’s rampant abuse.
During an interview with the “Today” show on Thursday, Raisman criticized USAG and the USOC for prioritizing winning over athletes’ safety.
Nassar “did not have a medical license in Texas, which is where we went to the ranch and trained,” Raisman said on the show. “It’s a national team training center and the Olympic training center ... so what does that say about USA Gymnastics and United States Olympic Committee? Whether they knew or didn’t know, that’s a big problem and we need to investigate how this happened.”
“For so long they put medals, reputation and money over the safety of athletes,” Raisman added. “Even now, you see the United States Olympic Committee ― they just spoke out Monday for the first time. They just released a statement for the first time. They have been quiet this whole time.”