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Discovery of Missing Documents Spurred U.S.O.C. to Act Against Gymnastics Federation

Discovery of Missing Documents Spurred U.S.O.C. to Act Against Gymnastics Federation


Leslie King, the organization’s spokeswoman, said she did not know who initially realized that the documents being sought were at its headquarters. The statement said, however, that the federation’s current board of directors was seated in late June and had “no way of knowing if the documents are relevant to the case or if they originated at the ranch.”

The Olympic committee has for months considered severing the gymnastics federation’s ties to Olympic sports and ending its authority over the sport, Sandusky said. The U.S.O.C. had grown increasingly frustrated as U.S.A. Gymnastics stumbled in its attempts to move forward after the Nassar scandal and gain the trust of the gymnastics community and its leading athletes.

The federation has made a series of hires that have upset and angered many of Nassar’s victims.

The gymnastics federation has had three chief executives in less than two years. That void in leadership comes at a time when the federation is also mired in a crushing number of lawsuits filed by girls and women who were abused by Nassar. There is little chance that it will be able to settle those cases quickly, and it is possible that the settlements will bankrupt the organization.

The mystery surrounding the documents and the questions of how they were handled led the U.S.O.C. to decide that U.S.A. Gymnastics, in its current form, would not be able to overhaul itself and that a new governing entity might have to be created. For months, government officials and former gymnasts have insisted as much.

According to a person with knowledge of the process, Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive of the U.S.O.C., had been considering stripping U.S.A. Gymnastics of its powers as a national governing body, known as decertification, since moving into her job in August. She decided last weekend to make the move after the national team returned from the world artistic gymnastics championships in Doha, Qatar, where the American women’s team won its fourth consecutive world title. The announcement was welcomed by many people in the sport.

“If they’re going to decertify,” said Dominique Moceanu, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist who now owns a gym in Ohio, “they should do it quickly so the athletes can prepare for the next Olympics.”



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