15 months on from Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics struggles to find its way
The disgraced doctor is behind bars after abusing dozens of youth athletes. But the effects of the scandal are still being felt across the sport
Gymnastics, on the surface, is thriving in the USA. Millions of kids participate. At the 2018 World Championships, Simone Biles demonstrated once again that she’s on a level above anyone else. Morgan Hurd and Sam Mikulak won the all-around titles at the recent World Cup stop in Tokyo. And business goes on as usual – St Louis will host the 2020 US Olympic trials.
Behind the scenes, things are a little messier. USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee are trying to address dozens of lawsuits and blistering criticism for failing to prevent the atrocities of former national team doctor Larry Nassar, working together but also trying to avoid bearing the full brunt of the reckoning to come. The third major party in those lawsuits, Nassar employer Michigan State University, has settled its claims for $500m. USAG does not have that kind of money. Its annual revenue ranges from $22m in a lean year to $35m in an Olympic year. Most of its sponsors are gone. It’s in bankruptcy proceedings, and it’s battling insurers to subsidize payouts its financial documents estimate at $75m to $150m.