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Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 23 January 2018 11:47    PDF Print
AT&T Flees USA Gymnastics Amid Nassar Scandal
(10 votes, average 3.80 out of 5)

Telecommunications giant AT&T has suspended its sponsorship of USA Gymnastics, the company announced Tuesday, as the sentencing hearing of former team doctor Larry Nassar continued into its sixth day in Lansing, Michigan.

AT&T is the fourth major sponsor to flee the organization amid its continually botched handling of the largest sex abuse scandal in history. Since 2016, Procter & Gamble, Hershey's and Under Armour had either canceled or declined to renew sponsorship of USA Gymnastics.

"We notified USA Gymnastics today that we are suspending our sponsorship of the organization until it is re-built and we know that the athletes are in a safe environment," AT&T said in a statement Tuesday. "The terrible abuse suffered by these young women is unconscionable. We remain committed to helping these young athletes pursue their dreams and hope to find other ways to do so. We stand ready to step back in when USAG has fully addressed these tragic events."

AT&T had been the title sponsor for USA Gymnastics' premier international event, the AT&T American Cup, scheduled for March 3 in Chicago. Held every year since 1976, the American Cup is one of the oldest international competitions in the gymnastics and has been an FIG World Cup event for the past several years.

Since 2016, USAG has been accused of reporting sex abuse of coaches in the sport, and then covering up and outright lying as it attempts to distance itself from Nassar, who was first alleged in September 2016 to have sexually abused young girls in his role as a doctor with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.

USA Gymnastics' leadership has been criticized for its poor handling of the scandal involving Nassar, who was allowed to publicly "retire" from the federation in 2015, despite the fact that three gymnasts had revealed that he had been sexually abusing them under the guise of "treatment." USAG, which failed to report Nassar for five weeks after first learning of the allegations against him, has been accused of being tone-deaf, ignoring pleas to make changes and failing to make substantial changes or address major issues in the sport.

USA Gymnastics president and CEO Steve Penny resigned in March 2017 after ignoring calls for him to resign, and full pledges of support from USAG Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley who likewise ignored calls to resign until Monday. Both resignations reportedly came only after major pressure from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Likewise, USA Gymnastics failed to take any action to close the Karolyi ranch as the national team center, despite backing out of a plan to purchase the ranch in 2016, after Marta Karolyi's retirement as national team coordinator. Only when Olympic champion Simone Biles came forward as a survivor of Nassar's abuse and shared her trauma of being forced to return to the ranch to continue training for 2020, did USAG take action and terminate its lease with the ranch.

USA Gymnastics has denied all liability for Nassar's action, even claiming it has no legal duty to inform Michigan State University or Twistars, the Michigan club where Nassar served as a longtime team doctor, after USAG had fired Nassar in September 2015.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 23 January 2018 05:41    PDF Print
Ponor, Petrounias Win Inaugural UEG Honors for 2017
(6 votes, average 3.83 out of 5)



Cătălina Ponor (Romania) and Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) have been selected as the top athletes of 2017 in the European Gymnastics Union's inaugural "European Gymnast of the Year" honors, which included five categories.

Cătălina Ponor (Romania) and Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) have been selected as the top athletes of 2017 in the European Gymnastics Union's inaugural "European Gymnast of the Year" honors.

With five categories — Female Gymnast of the Year, Male Gymnast of the Year, Team of the Year, Rising Star of the Year and Performance of the Year — the candidates were nominated by the 50 member federations belonging to the UEG (Union Européenne de Gymnastique), along with the UEG's eight technical committees. The top six in each category were presented to the public to vote for 10 days, garnering more than 25,000 votes from fans this month.

Ponor, who won her fifth European title on balance beam in 2017, won by the largest margin, garnering more than 70 percent of the vote in her category.

Still rings king Petrounias was a double winner, winning in the men's category and the "Outstanding Performance of the Year" for 2017. Since his sixth place on rings at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, Petrounias has been undefeated on his specialty, winning three consecutive European titles, back-to-back world titles and the 2016 Olympic gold medal.

Greek club Olympiada Thrakomakedonon, whose team competes under the Gymnastics of All discipline, was awarded the team title. Danish tumbler Rasmus Steffensen, 18, won the Rising Star of the Year award.

Tina Gerets, head of media at UEG, helped initiate the concept of an annual award for European gymnasts, an idea that will hopefully spread to other continental bodies, including the Asian Gymnastics Union (AGU) and the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU), as well as the overall governing body for the sport, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

"The idea behind the awards is [to give] the spotlight to the athletes and their fantastic achievements," Gerets told IG. "They deserve it. Also, I wanted to mix the different disciplines so fans got to know more about gymnasts they don't really know."

The awards will be presented to Steffensen and Petrounias at the 2018 European championships for tumbling and artistic gymnastics, held in April in Baku and in August in Glasgow, respectively. Gerets said the UEG is arranging an appropriate venue to present awards to Ponor, who retired at the end of 2017, and Olympiada Thrakemakedonon.

While a financial award for the winners had not been allotted in the budget for the first edition of the awards, Gerets said it is on the agenda for 2019.

Petrounias, who has largely self-funded his training amidst the Greek financial crisis of the past decade, said a financial prize would be "amazing." The additional recognition will provide inspiration for gymnasts, he said.

"I think it's a good idea for an athlete to have some more reasons to try to succeed," he told IG. "It will make the sport more competitive."

Petrounias was delighted with his double victory.

"I want to say a special thanks to the UEG, for this brilliant idea of the European Gymnastics Awards and for giving me the opportunity to be a candidate in two categories," Petrounias told the UEG. "These awards are something which our great sport needed, in order to gain even wider exposure. It is a perfect opportunity for the gymnastics fans to come closer to gymnastics through their vote and I just hope that this initiative will grow stronger and bigger each year. I wish to congratulate Olympiada Thrakomakedonon and the rest of the UEG Awards Winners, as well as all the candidates in each category. And of course, my gratitude goes to the thousands of fans who voted for me and elected me as a double UEG Award winner. Their support gives me a lot of strength ahead of the new season. I will try to be worthy of this honor and make happy all these people every time I can. Thank you all!"

Ponor, who turned 30 in September, was thrilled with the award which caps her remarkable career.

"Thank you so much, everyone, for voting for me!" Ponor said. "I feel loved and appreciated! Thank you, thank you, thank you all!"

Rasmus Steffensen, who will turn 19 on May 8, helped Denmark win its first world championships medal in tumbling last fall in Sofia when he, together with Rasmus Gaarde, Adam Matthiesen and Anders Wesch, won the World Cup team bronze and finished fourth as an individual, .2 behind the bronze medal.

"Thanks a lot!" Steffensen said. "It means everything."

Olympiada Thrakomakedonon was the world group champion at the 2017 World Gym for Life Challenge in Norway, winning with a routine called "The Wolves and the Moon." Olympia Dragouni, the head coach of the Athens club, told the UEG of her excitement over the award for Team of the Year. Greece, where gymnastics originated, fittingly won three of the five trophies in these inaugural continental awards.

"I'm excited for this result!" Dragouni said. "I want to say a big 'thank you' to all gymnastics fans that honored us with their vote and gave us such a distinction: Our 'Wolves' have been chosen as the best European gymnastics team of the year, against very strong candidates! From the bottom of our heart, we thank you all for your support and your love! This is not just a victory for Olympiada Thrakomakedonon and for Hellenic Gymnastics. It is an achievement for the whole discipline of Gymnastics of All, which has gained an important place among the other disciplines of our sport, thanks to the vote and acknowledgment of the gymnastics fans. I want to congratulate all winners of the voting and especially Eleftherios Petrounias, but most of all I wish to congratulate the UEG for this exceptional idea of creating these European Awards for the first time. I hope that this idea will continue and will become a very successful and long-lasting tradition in gymnastics."

1st European Gymnastics Awards
2017 Female Gymnast of the Year
3,240 total votes

AthleteDisciplineVotesPercent
1.Cătălina PonorArtistic gymnastics2,28970.65%
2.Ellie DownieArtistic gymnastics2969.14%
3.Linoy AshramRhythmic gymnastics2517.75%
4.Nina DerwaelArtistic gymnastics1614.97%
5.Giulia SteingruberArtistic gymnastics1484.57%
6.Pauline SchäferArtistic gymnastics662.04%
7.Tatsiana PiatreniaTrampoline gymnastics290.90%

2017 Male Gymnast of the Year
8,681 total votes

AthletesDisciplineVotesPercent
1.Eleftherios PetrouniasArtistic gymnastics5,27760.79%
2.Marian DrăgulescuArtistic gymnastics2,54529.32%
3.Tin SrbićArtistic gymnastics4395.06%
4.Oleg VernyayevArtistic gymnastics1261.45%
5.Dániel BaliAerobic gymnastics1051.21%
6.Mikhail ZalominTrampoline gymnastics1001.15%
7.Pablo BräggerArtistic gymnastics891.03%

2017 Team of the Year
2,952 total votes

AthletesDisciplineVotesPercent
1.Olympiada ThrakomakedononTeam Gym1,70357.69%
2.Danish TeamGym senior men's teamTeamGym58619.85%
3.Israeli rhythmic junior groupRhythmic gymnastics51817.55%
4.Efi Sach, Yannay Kalfa, Lidar Dana & Daniel UralevitchSports acrobatics1454.91%

2017 Rising Star of the Year
1,544 total votes

AthleteDisciplineVotesPercent
1.Rasmus SteffensenTumbling78250.65%
2.Mélanie de Jesus dos SantosArtistic gymnastics39425.52%
3.Tin SrbićArtistic gymnastics19212.44%
4.Florentina Gruber, Melanie Trautenberger and Victoria LoidlSports acrobatics875.63%
5.Artem DolgopyatArtistic gymnastics613.95%
6.Vinzenz HöckArtistic gymnastics281.81%

2017 Outstanding Performance of the Year
8,921 total votes

AthletesDisciplineVotesPercent
1.Eleftherios PetrouniasArtistic gymnastics7,79887.41%
2.Samir Aït SaïdArtistic gymnastics3714.16%
3.Sara Moreno and Vicente LliSports acrobatics2873.22%
4.Lina SjöbergTrampoline gymnastics2332.61%
5.Dina and Arina AverinaRhythmic gymnastics1501.68%
6.Marina Chernova and Georgiy PatarayaSports acrobatics590.66%
7.Tatsiana PiatreniaTrampoline gymnastics230.26%
 
Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 22 January 2018 19:33    PDF Print
USAG Suspends Coach Geddert After Abuse Allegations
(7 votes, average 3.57 out of 5)



USA Gymnastics has suspended the professional membership of 2012 Olympic head coach John Geddert after multiple allegations of abuse emerged in the past week in association with the sentencing hearing of disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar.

USA Gymnastics has suspended the professional membership of 2012 Olympic head coach John Geddert after multiple allegations of abuse emerged in the past week in association with the sentencing hearing of disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar.

"John Geddert has been suspended under the interim measures provisions of Section 10.5 of USA Gymnastics' Bylaws," USA Gymnastics said in a statement Monday. "USA Gymnastics is unable to comment further as this is a pending matter."

Although the decision to suspend Geddert had already been leaked by Friday, USA Gymnastics did not respond to IG's request for comment or make a public statement until Monday. It is unknown when the decision was made.


John Geddert and Jordyn Wieber at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo

USA Gymnastics had received reports of Geddert over the years but apparently declined to take action, although it is unknown if there was already an investigation in place since the Nassar scandal hit. Geddert and his gym, Geddert's Twistars USA, is being sued amid allegations he ignored complaints about Nassar sexually assaulting gymnasts for nearly 20 years. Geddert, whose association with Nassar dates to 1986 and his previous club Great Lakes Gymnastics, has denied knowledge of Nassar's abuse.

In the last week, national and Michigan media have reported on abusive treatment allegedly perpetrated by Geddert against his gymnasts, including assaults reported to the police. In some instances, Nassar intervened to protect Geddert and convince the family not to make reports. In public statements in Nassar's sentencing hearing, many of the survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse who attended Twistars say they trusted Nassar implicitly because of his seemingly warm and protective stance toward them in contrast to the physical and mental cruelty they allege that Geddert forced them to endure in the gym.

Most notably, ESPN's Outside the Lines included Geddert, the 2012 U.S. Elite National Coach of the Year, on its list of "enablers" of Nassar in the worst case of sexual abuse in sports history.

On Monday, former national team member Kamerin Moore spoke in court and described how Nassar used her hatred of her coaches and the pain she suffered after her father's suicide to groom her to trust him. only to abuse her instead. She also revealed that Nassar also sexually assaulted her brother under, also under the guise of treatment for his shoulder injury, that can only be described as sadomasochistic.

This past weekend, Geddert accompanied his team to the 2018 Sand Dollar/Whitlow Invitational in Orlando, Florida, and posted on Facebook about how proud he was of Twistars' performance and focus. However, according to people who also attended the event, Geddert was not on the floor with his team but watched the competition from the stands.

A native of Alpena, Michigan, Geddert competed on the gymnastics team for Central Michigan University, graduating with a degree in physical education. He moved to Rockville, Maryland, in 1980 to begin coaching under Gary Anderson at the MarVaTeens club. He returned to Michigan to coach at the Great Lakes Gymnastics Club in Lansing, where he became close friends with Nassar. His first elite gymnast, Katie Teft, qualified to the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials. That year Geddert and his wife, Kathryn Geddert, left to form their own club, Gedderts' Twistars USA Gymnastics Club, in Dimondale, and then opened a second location in DeWitt. Geddert consistently praised and promoted Nassar's association with his club, both on his blog and in the coaching materials he sold through his own website, thegymnasticscoach.com.

Geddert's most prominent gymnast was 2011 world champion Jordyn Wieber, who was a member of the "Fierce Five" gold medal-winning team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. On Friday, Wieber made a surprise appearance at the Michigan courtroom to share her story of abuse for the first time, and spoke of the mental anguish she has suffered as she realized that the doctor she entrusted to treat her major injuries — a torn hamstring in 2010 and stress fracture in her leg in 2012 — was likely not treating those injuries as she claimed. Wieber, who began gymnastics at Twistars in 1999, moved to California after the Olympics and recently graduated from UCLA, where she was the volunteer coach for the UCLA Bruins. She officially retired from gymnastics in 2015.

If Geddert is placed on USAG's list of permanently ineligible members, he will be the fourth U.S. Olympic coach on the list, along with women's coaches Vannie Edwards and Don Peters, and men's coach Jon Valdez. Peters was also head coach of the U.S. Olympic women's team in 1984.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 22 January 2018 12:09    PDF Print
Three Resign from USA Gymnastics Board
(8 votes, average 3.75 out of 5)

USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley have resigned effective Monday, more than 16 months into sexual abuse scandal that has crippled the sports governing body.

The remaining members of the board will choose an interim chairperson to lead the board until a permament is named, USA Gymnastics said in a statement.

Along with former president and CEO Steve Penny, the three are the only major members of USA Gymnastics to resign since the scandal broke in the summer of 2016 by The Indianapolis Star's investigative series into the organization's handling of sexual abuse over the decades. The scandal turned into tragedy with the revelation that the former team doctor Larry Nassar had sexually abused hundreds if not thousands of gymnasts, athletes and other members of the community for three decades.

The sentencing hearing of Nassar, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault in two Michigan counties last November, began last Tuesday in Ingham County. He agreed to allow anyone who had filed a complaint against him to deliver a victim impact statement at the hearing, resulting in a parade of survivors and their families sharing their stories of pain and devastation caused by his sexual abuse. Many also spoke out against the organizations and individuals who protected, promoted and enabled Nassar for decades. According to complaints filed in federal court, Michigan State University was notified that Nassar was assaulting girls as early as 1997 and USA Gymnastics was aware of as early as 1998. Both organizations have denied they had any knowledge, even though MSU did its own investigation of Nassar in 2014 and cleared him of any wrongdoing.

USA Gymnastics' leadership has been criticized throughout the scandal for its inaction, "hurtful" and dubious statements, and failure to take any responsibility for its role in the tragedy, particularly that it let Nassar publicly resign in September 2015 but never notified his employer, Michigan State University, or Twistars' Club in Michigan, where he continued to sexually abuse at least 19 more girls and women for one year. The board strongly backed Penny, issuing a letter of support for him months before a letter of apology to the victims. Penny resigned in March 2017 under pressure from the United States Olympic Committee and was given a massive financial payout by the board, with the amount he received never confirmed by the USA Gymnastics. The rumored size of Penny's payout has floated between $1 to $6 million. USA Gymnastics has never set up a fund to help the survivors.

USA Gymnastics has also never reached out to contact any of the survivors nor contacted other national team members or Olympians to see if they had been abused. Olympians Jamie Dantzscher — the first gymnast to file a lawsuit against USAG — McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles have all come forward as survivors of Nassar's abuse. Maggie Nichols revealed earlier this month that she was the first gymnast to report Nassar's abuse in June 2015, after her coach overheard her, Raisman and another gymnast discussing Nassar's "treatments."

USA Gymnastics did not notify any law enforcement for five weeks, and issued a statement that Nichols' and Raisman's statements did not provide any credible allegations of abuse, which prompted outrage from Raisman and others. Despite this astonishing statement, USA Gymnastics has also claimed that Nichols' statement led to Nassar's conviction for sexual assaults in Michigan, which is contrary to known facts in the case. USA Gymnastics have also attempted to avoid liability in the lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss partly by taking credit for Nassar's conviction by reporting him to the FBI in July 2015, even though the FBI never took any action and had no role in his arrest and subsequent guilty pleas. The FBI has refused comment on why it failed to investigate Nassar or release a report on any action it did take. Nichols' family has confirmed they did not hear from the FBI until July 2016, when she was interviewed shortly before the U.S. Olympic Trials.

"USA Gymnastics thanks Paul Parilla, Jay Binder and Bitsy Kelley for their many years of service to this organization," said Kerry Perry, who took over as president and CEO of USAG in December. "We support their decisions to resign at this time. We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization. As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve."

Despite knowledge that many national team members had been sexually abused by Nassar at the Karolyi ranch — and more than 15 years of criticism of the abusive training environment there — USA Gymnastics negotiated to would purchase the ranch as its permanent national training center in July 2016, following Marta Karolyi's retirement that year. Following the revelations about Nassar, USAG announced it would not purchase the ranch, but took no action to find an alternative training center. As of December, its leaderships only actions were discussing plans to solicit Requests for Proposal (RFP) for a new training center. Last week, after Biles revealed she was also abused by Nassar and was traumatized that she was forced to return there for upcoming camps, it caused massive public backlash against USAG. On Thursday, USAG announced it was terminating its least with the ranch, although a junior developmental camp was in process there.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 19 January 2018 08:05    PDF Print
Wieber, Too: Michigan Gymnast Confronts Nassar as Fourth Member of 'Fierce Five' to Suffer Sexual Abus
(9 votes, average 3.89 out of 5)



World and Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber made a stunning appearance Friday morning in the sentencing hearing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar entered its fourth day in an Ingham County, Michigan courtroom. Pictured: A disappointed Jordyn Wieber cries following the qualification competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she was suffering from a stress fracture in her right leg and did not advance to the all-around final.

World and Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber made a stunning appearance Friday morning in the courtroom as the sentencing hearing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar entered its fourth day in Lansing, Michigan. Wieber, who grew up in nearby DeWitt, is the fourth member of the "Fierce Five," the 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning squad, to come forward as a survivor of depraved sexual abuse committed at the hands of the once trusted team doctor.

With teammate Aly Raisman looking on, Wieber took a deep breath and confirmed she had not escaped the abuse Nassar afflicted on so many other gymnasts and athletes over at least 25 years.

"I thought that training for the Olympics would be hardest thing I would ever have to do," Wieber said. "But the hardest thing I've ever had to do is process that I'm a victim of Larry Nassar. It has caused me to feel shame and confusion and I have spent months trying to look back and wonder how I didn't even know this was happening to me, how I became so brainwashed by Larry and everyone at USA Gymnastics, both whom I thought were on my side. He became a safe person, and was the 'good guy' in an intense, restricting environment."


Jordyn Wieber at the 2006 U.S. junior championships

Wieber, the most decorated gymnast to ever come out of Michigan, returned home to join a parade of women delivering devastating victim's impact statements in the sentencing hearing of Nassar, a serial pedophile who preyed on vulnerable girls and women by sexually assaulting them, nearly all using methods he described as "treatment" to help injured back, hip, pelvic and hails from nearby DeWitt. Nassar pleaded guilty last November as part of plea deal that saw him prosecuted for only 10 assaults, seven of which occurred in Ingham County, home of his former employer, Michigan State University.

The sheer number of survivors of Nassar's abuse has been difficult to track, with more than 150 women reportedly alleging abuse over at least 25 years. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to allow any woman whom he had assaulted to deliver a victim impact statement at his sentencing hearing. The number of women who requested was up to 104, it was announced Thursday by the assistan attorney general.

One of those was Wieber, whose appearance Friday was a closely guarded secret. When news of allegations against Nassar first made headlines in September 2016, Wieber's mother, Rita Wieber, defended Nassar.

"Larry was always very professional in treating Jordyn throughout the years," Rita Wieber told the Detroit Free Press 15 months ago.

An emotional Wieber largely ignored Nassar, who has been sitting in the witness box next to the judge, as she explained how he began sexually abusing her following a torn hamstring she suffered when she was 14. Like many others, she had trusted that Nassar, whom she knew from age 8, was performing legitimate medical treatment on her, which he inflicted "time after time, appointment after appointment."

Wieber, who will turn 24 in July, trained at Geddert's Twisters USA Gym in Lansing throughout her career. She won the world all-around title in 2011 in Tokyo, where she was part of the U.S. women's gold medal team. She also won the American Cup titles in 2009 and 2011. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she was hampered by a stress fracture in her right leg and failed to advance to the all-around final because of the two-per country rule, but helped the American women, dubbed the "Fierce Five," win their first Olympic team title outside the United States. She finished seventh on floor in the final.

Wieber said she discussed Nassar's "treatment" with her teammates, who were also uncomfortable with it, but that they were too afraid that challenging him or complaining would keep them off the Olympic team. Now she is struggling with the revelation that she was actually being sexually abused by a man entrusted to help her with her injuries as she pursued her dream of competing in the Olympics.

"Was Larry even doing anything to help my pain?" she asked. "Was I getting the proper medical care? What was he thinking about when he massaged my sore muscles every day? Now, I question everything."

Wieber slammed USA Gymnastics as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee for allowing a pedophile to prey on young girls who were overtrained, deprived food and frightened. Nassar was the only man allowed to be alone in the gymnasts' rooms at the Karolyi ranch and in hotel rooms, including the Olympic Village, a violation of basic policies for both organizations.

"Larry Nassar is accountable," Wieber said. "USA Gymnastics is accountable. The U.S. Olympic Committee is accountable. (USA Gymnastics') lack of accountability has caused me and many other girls to remain shameful, confused and disappointed. My teammates and friends have been through enough and now it's time for change. The current and future gymnasts do not deserve to live in anxiety, fear and being unprotected like I was."

Wieber turned professional prior to the 2012 Olympics and thus was not eligible to compete in the NCAA. Still, she was active with the women's team at UCLA, where she worked as a student coach alongside Val Kondos Fields and Chris Waller. She trained separately from the team, but elected to retire rather than continue elite competition. Last June, she graduated from UCLA with a degree in psychology.

Nassar was the team doctor at Twistars Gymnastics and Geddert's previous gym, Great Lakes Gymnastics, where he victimized gymnasts for decades. Many have spoken up this past week to accuse Nassar of grooming them by acting as their protector in what they allege was a psychologically and physically abusive environment. This week, ESPN's Outside the Lines and a local television network alleged that Geddert was one of Nassar's main enablers and that he had been reported both to the police and USA Gymnastics for violent behavior.

Nassar maintained his innocence until last November, when he pleaded guilty and admitted his supposed treatment was in fact done for his own gratification. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for charges related to child pornography. Wieber also stated that Nassar obsessively photographed the gymnasts.

"Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of," Wieber said. "I was not protected, and neither were my teammates."

Wieber stated that she did not want the media to focus on her story.

"I am an Olympian, but I am also one of more than 140 women," she said. "Our pain is all the same."

The number of women who will speak has grown to 117 and is expected to last through next Tuesday.

 


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