“I think it’s very hard for someone to go through what I’ve gone through recently and it’s very hard to talk about.” – Simone Biles on Today. You’re doing amazing, sweetie.
125 years in Eaton County: Former national team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison at his final sentencing on Monday. He has already been sentenced to 60 years for federal charges and up to 175 years in Ingham County. Because of his age, he’ll likely spend the rest of his life in federal, not Michigan, prison.
The incident: Randall Margraves, a father of three survivors, rushed at Nassar during the sentencing on Friday and was pinned down by law enforcement. He was later released and apologized to the court, and Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham said he would not be punished.
Keeping it classy: Nassar’s attorney Shannon Smith said on Thursday that she “does not believe that every one of those girls was victimized by him.” Nassar responded by saying he didn’t authorize Smith to make the statement.
Rolling heads at USAG
The board is gone: In “Wait, that was only Wednesday?” news, USA Gymnastics announced that all members of its Board of Directors have resigned, in accordance with the US Olympic Committee’s requirements. USAG is calling for nominations for members of an interim board.
Some former WOGA gymnasts have recently criticized Liukin’s coaching methods, and several have responded to the news in different ways, including McKenzie Wofford, Megan Marenghi, and Lindsey Vanden Eykel.
Ranch under fire: The governor of Texas ordered state authorities to investigate allegations of abuse at the Karolyi Ranch, which was already under investigation by Walker County authorities, on Tuesday. The next day, survivor Jeanette Antolin said in an interview that the Karolyis “100 percent knew” that abuse was occurring at the ranch.
USAG announced on Sunday that the first camp since the Ranch’s closure will be held at Louisiana State University. They will not be sending athletes to Jesolo, Italy, and every athlete will need to be accompanied by a chaperone at upcoming meets.
What the USOC knew
Org fail: The USOC knew about allegations against Nassar in 2015 and didn’t intervene, according to evidence obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
In response to the news, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on the Department of Justice to investigate “the depth of those failures” to protect gymnasts and whether any laws were broken, and Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Joni Ernst called for USOC CEO Scott Blackmun’s resignation.
In a press conference, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the board is “shocked and saddened” by the abuse, and that they “welcomed the creation of a fund” to help survivors.
Outside counsel: The USOC announced on Friday that they had chosen Ropes & Gray LLP, a law firm known for its work on major mergers and acquisitions, to conduct the independent investigation into USAG and the USOC’s handling of Nassar’s abuse.
Aly Raisman responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying she hopes the investigation will include enablers of “all kinds of abuse,” and demanding that the investigation be made transparent.
FBI fail: At least 40 women and girls were abused by Nassar in the year between when the FBI was first notified of his conduct and when the Indianapolis Star story exposing Nassar’s abuse broke, according to a report by the New York Times.
It’s the law: Congress passed The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act on Tuesday, sending the bill to the president’s desk. Jeanette Antolin, Jamie Dantzscher, Dominique Moceanu, and Mattie Larson joined Senator Dianne Feinstein at a press conference in support of the bill.
You guys. We haven’t even made it to MSU yet. Deep breaths…
The state of Michigan
The raid: Authorities from the Michigan Attorney General’s office seized records from Michigan State University on Friday. They’ve also requested texts, emails, and other records from top officials, and are investigating former members of the MSU staff.
New prez: Former governor John Engler was named MSU’s interim president on Wednesday. Rachael Denhollander says she’s “beyond disappointed” in the pick, calling Engler a “deep political insider at MSU.”
MSU faculty members have condemned the choice, and voted “no confidence” in the MSU board. Students interrupted a Wednesday board meeting to express their disappointment, and many spoke out at an MSU town hall, where only one of eight trustees was in attendance.
Public apology: Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh apologized to survivor Brianne Randall-Gay on Thursday for not taking action when she reported Nassar’s abuse in 2004, at age 17. The case had been closed after Nassar convinced investigators that his actions were medical.
Twistars in limbo: 2012 Olympic head coach John Geddert has transferred ownership of his gym, Twistars, to wife Kathryn Geddert. After suspending John Geddert on January 22, USAG now says Twistars’ membership is “under review.”
- Gymcastic’s Jessica O’Beirne’s excellent piece, “USA Gymnastics Chose Medals Over Child Safety” (Huffington Post).
- This interview with 1986 national champion Jennifer Sey: “[USAG] is so broken to the core that it is a really difficult rebuild” (International Gymnast).
- This Twistars’ dad’s op-ed about keeping his daughter in gymnastics (Huffington Post).
- The New York Times Editorial Board says MSU’s board needs to go.
- Miss Val says gymnastics is not to blame here.
- How to help survivors (Lansing State Journal).
- Tell The New York Times how the trial has affected your relationship with the sport, and read what other gymnerds have to say.
College daze: Here are recaps of the weekend’s meets.
Moving on: MSU’s gymnastics team is trying to move on from the school’s abuse scandal: “We have to stay together and change the culture,” said freshman Lea Mitchell.
Spotted in teal: Penn and Cornell: We see you.
Hiring and firing: Georgia Gymdogs assistant coach Charlie Tamayo is no longer with the program. Do with that information what you will.
Just do it: Should Florida Gator Kennedy Baker do a laid out double arabian? Do birds go tweet?
Because you asked…
#WST: Elite gymnasts are banding together on social media with the hashtag #WST. It stands for “We stand together,” btw.
Oh baby, oh baby: Dominique Dawes had TWO babies, Anna Li is having at least one baby, Alicia Sacramone Quinn has baby number two on the way, and Chellsie Memmel is working on her post-baby side aerials.
A DOG IS NEAR: Yuri the therapy dog was at Eaton County Circuit Court to comfort survivors. He looks very calm and collected, like a champ. 18/10 would adopt in a pupbeat.
It’s Magic: MSU alum and incredibly tall person Magic Johnson is not here for MSU’s institutional failings re the Nassar case.
She’s baaack: European champion and British person Ellie Downie is training after injuring her ankle last year. Cheerio!
Need to know
- USA’s Jordan Chiles and Russia’s Angelina Melnikova headline the Stuttgart World Cup. Snaps to Ebee’s aunt, who keeps track of such things.
- Is the U.S. Classic still happening? Has it been postponed? Unclear. Yours truly called the arena and they had no information.
- Vitaly Scherbo is suing Tatiana Gutsu after she accused him of rape last November.
- Elite Canada is happening, and our editor-in-chief is there to give you the play-by-play, plus interviews.
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