Ethics agency to better protect gymnasts for LA Olympics
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AP Sports Writer
GENEVA (AP) — Created to help protect athletes after the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, the sport’s international investigations agency has set new safeguarding standards with a view to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation published a “Gymnasts 2028” strategy Thursday to better protect athletes from harassment and abuse, investigate complaints, prosecute disciplinary cases and monitor national federations.
“The idea is to really put gymnasts at the center of our thinking throughout everything we do,” Alex McLin, the independent foundation’s director, told The Associated Press in an interview.
The GEF was created and funded by the sport’s governing body, the International Gymnastics Federation, in the fallout from the scandal of long-time U.S. team doctor Larry Nassar, who is now in prison.
Since 2019, the foundation has worked to address systemic issues it describes as “the inherent power imbalances between gymnasts, coaches, judges, and administrators, a culture of control, tolerance of harmful and unethical behaviors, the vulnerabilities of young gymnasts.”
“We realized early on that the sort of issues we were facing would likely take a decade to address,” said McLin, an American who is an expert on sports governance.
That made 2028, when Los Angeles will host the Olympics “a good benchmark for us to organize ourselves,” he said.
A generation of leaders have left USA Gymnastics since Nassar’s abuse of hundreds of athletes emerged in 2016, and a new management structure of women’s teams was put in place.
“US Gymnastics has gone through an incredible transition where it’s a completely different organization from what it used to be,” McLin said. “That shift is not happening with the same speed everywhere but that momentum is certainly there.”