US Olympic Committee CEO Resigns in Midst of the Nassar Scandal

A little more than a month ago, I was sitting in my dorm room, horrified. I was watching Larry Nassar’s sentencing. As I listened to all those strong young women recount their disturbing and tragic stories one by one, of how he abused and misled them for years, the details started to blur together, and I was left with a pit in my stomach, wondering if things were ever going to change. Later that week, he was sentenced to 175 years, and I began to realize there was going to be a reckoning for everyone who did nothing as he took those girls’ innocence.

Courtsey: NY Daily News

On Feb. 28, that reckoning began to show itself. On this day, United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun resigned. While the USOC claims he is resigning for health reasons, some are speculating that it has more to do with the Nassar scandal. Many have called for his resignation since the trail; such as Senator Jeanne Shaheen. When asked to comment on Blackmun finally resigning, Senator Shaheen said, “Scott Blackmun's resignation is long overdue. It's clear that the culture at the US Olympic Committee desperately needs to change so that it prioritizes the health and safety of US athletes. The U.S. Olympic Committee must now bring on new leadership determined to deliver answers and accountability regarding how Larry Nassar was able to freely abuse young girls for decades, as well as answers to questions about abuse in other Olympic programs.”

Whether he resigned for health reasons or not, this is still a very important time in USOC history. The organization has just released a statement saying, “The USOC is at a critical point in its history. The important work that Scott started needs to continue and will require especially vigorous attention in light of Larry Nassar's decades-long abuse of athletes affiliated with USA Gymnastics." On the same day of his resignation, some of the members of the elite women's gymnastics team went to Washington D.C. to talk to legislators about their abuse, to aid investigations into the USOC in the Senate (there are two others being conducted in the house).

As I am writing this, more news is breaking in regards to the Nassar scandal and how it affects the USOC. Olympic gold-winning gymnast Aly Raisman is now suing the USOC over Nassar’s abuse. Back in January, Raisman went to the sentencing and delivered a powerful speech calling out not only her abuser but the USOC for not taking action sooner. Now, Raisman is saying that Blackmun and other officials resigning is just a botched attempt of appeasing her and the victims instead of focusing on doing a thorough and proper investigation. "After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented. I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed,” says Raisman.

Courtsey: Morning News USA

In her sentencing speech, Raisman said that the USOC was “rotting from the inside”, and called for action saying, “It’s clear now, if you leave it up to these organizations, history is likely to repeat itself.” So while Blackmun’s resigning can be seen as a step in the right direction and a change in the USOC, more action needs to be taken to ensure justice for the victims as well as to make sure that nothing like this happens again. Athletes like Raisman represent the best of the best in our country, and the people that work with them should do the same.