USA Gymnastics Cuts Ties With Training Center Where Athletes Say Nassar Abused Them

USA Gymnastics announced on Thursday afternoon that it’s severing ties with the organization’s national team training center, Karolyi Ranch.

“USA Gymnastics has terminated its agreement with the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas,” USA Gymnastics president and CEO Kerry Perry said in a statement to HuffPost. “It will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center.”

Karolyi Ranch, which has served as USA Gymnastics’ national team training center since 2001, has been the home of many elite American gymnasts including Aly Raisman, Maggie Nichols and Simone Biles. All three gymnasts, and several others, say former team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused them at the training center. More than 140 women  have accused Nassar of sexually abusing them under the guise of medical treatment over two decades.

“It has been my intent to terminate this agreement since I began as president and CEO in December,” Perry said. “Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this. We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes.”

She added that USA Gymnastics has canceled next week’s training camp for the women’s national team. 

“We are exploring alternative sites to host training activities and camps until a permanent location is determined,” Perry said. “We thank all those in the gymnastics community assisting in these efforts.”

A spokesperson for Karolyi Ranch could not be reached by HuffPost for comment.

A statement posted to the training center’s website reads: “After nearly four decades of spiriting young gymnasts towards greatness in sport, our yearly tradition of the Karolyi’s Gymnastics Camp has come to an end. Bela, Martha, and the rest of the camp staff wish to sincerely thank all participants, USA Gymnastics, and everyone who has been a part of our extended family for 35 years of unforgettable memories.
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Earlier this week, Biles revealed that she was sexually abused by Nassar while she was training at the Karolyi Ranch. 

“It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” 20-year-old Biles wrote on Twitter. 

Olympic team member Aly Raisman has continued to call out USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for failing to properly address the Nassar abuse. 

“To see [Simone] write that about having to go back to the ranch … I hope USA Gymnastics listens, because they haven’t listened to us so far,” Raisman told ESPN in an interview on Tuesday. “I hope they listen and I hope they don’t make any of the girls go back to the ranch. No one should have to go back there after so many of us were abused there.” 

A sentencing hearing for Nassar began this week after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree sexual misconduct in November 2017.

The hearing was originally set to feature around 80 victim impact statements from survivors and family members. Now, over 100 people are reading impact statements and, according to Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, sentencing won’t conclude until next week. Nassar is already serving a 60-year sentence on child pornography charges.

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