It is one of the most popular and highly rated sports of the Olympic games. But now we have to ask the unthinkable. Will USA Gymnastics survive? Something has to change and fast after horrific new assertions were revealed about Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney. According to court records, Maroney, one of the most famous Olympians of modern times, was paid $1.25 million in a settlement with USA Gymnastics, the governing body of the sport, to stay silent after suffering years of sexual abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar. If you haven’t followed this sordid saga, Nassar was recently convicted of sexually abusing several athletes (not Maroney) while he was team physician for USA gymnastics and Michigan State University. But his recent conviction is only the beginning. He’s been accused of assaulting more than 140 additional girls, according to lawsuits.
But no one knew the extent of Maroney’s claims until court filings just obtained by The Wall Street Journal . Those records show USA Gymnastics paid Maroney to keep quiet about her abuse. The details of the agreement came to light because the retired gymnast is suing the organization claiming the confidentiality agreement she signed was illegal in California because it involved child sex abuse. And, she claims, she was forced to enter into the agreement to help pay for her own psychological treatment. Maroney says she endured repeated attacks from Nassar for five years while training for the Olympic games.
McKayla Maroney won the hearts of millions of admirers at the 2012 Olympic games in London where she led the women’s team to gold in gymnastics. But now the organization is in turmoil. Corporate sponsors have already begun dropping USA Gymnastics. Larry Nassar will spend at least the next 20 years in prison. His story didn’t come to light until an investigation by The Indianapolis Star in 2016 that found 368 gymnasts had alleged sexual abuse over the past 20 years. And no one knew? That’s just one of the questions for USA gymnastics. Others are, can it survive? Should it survive?