🏅An Olympic-Sized Settlement For US Gymnasts
A five-year legal battle that rocked the Olympic community has drawn to a close with a $380 million settlement. Hundreds of women and girls who were sexually abused by former US Olympics doctor Larry Nassar were awarded the sum, which was welcomed by U.S.A. Gymnastics and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
"To have to push for so long for the right things to take place, to have to push for so long to have justice happen ... it should have never taken five years,” Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to come forward and accuse Nassar, said of the settlement, reports the AP.
Gold medalist gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman have been very public faces of this trial, which is one of the largest child molestation cases in the country's history.
"We have the deepest respect for the tremendous strength and bravery these women have shown," Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the USOPC, said according to NPR. "We recognize our role in failing to protect these athletes, and we are sorry for the profound hurt they have endured."
The US Olympic Committee has tried to remove itself from this settlement, claiming that Nassar was not an employee of the USOPC. However, this case has changed the Committee, evidenced by the resignation of former CEO Scott Blackmun. Hirshland, the new CEO, stated that "sweeping reforms" to the USOPC's government structure are being enacted to protect athletes against "any form of abuse" moving forward. US Gymnastics (USAG) will likely face major restructuring too as it emerges from bankruptcy by year's end. "The plan of reorganization that we jointly filed reflects our own accountability to the past and our commitment to the future," said Li Li Leung, President and CEO of USAG.
The unbelievable courage that these women showed in speaking out and fighting for justice will hopefully protect future athletes from such abuse. However, that this case took 5 years, and that so many in power failed to act is deeply troubling.