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USA Gymnastics to fight USOC decision

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has said it will proceed with action to disband USA Gymnastics after the national governing body decided to fight the decision.

Earlier this month, USOC filed a complaint seeking to remove USA Gymnastics’ recognition as the governing body for the sport in the country amid dissatisfaction at reform efforts in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving Larry Nassar, a former national team doctor.

USOC had given USA Gymnastics the option of giving up its recognition voluntarily. However, in a statement USOC chief executive Sarah Hirshland said: “We received USAG’s response to our complaint on Monday, November 19, 2018.

“In that letter they did not choose to relinquish recognition as an NGB and instead asked a series of questions that relate to the matter and the Section 8 hearing process. Thus, in addition to working with USAG on their questions, we will ensure that the Section 8 process goes forward without delay.”

Hirshland will now form a three-person panel with representatives from the USOC board of directors, the National Governing Bodies Council and the Athletes’ Advisory Council. The panel will review Hirshland’s complaint and listen to USAG’s response before a hearing is held and a verdict reached.

The process is expected to run for a few months, during which time USAG will continue to be recognised as the governing body of gymnastics in the US. In a statement, USAG chair Karen Golz said: “We have a number of important questions for the USOC, and we’re seeking answers to make an informed decision on the direction for the organisation.

“To be clear, USA Gymnastics still remains the recognised national governing body, including by the International Gymnastics Federation, and our commitment to the gymnastics community and this sport is unwavering.”

Hirshland added: “Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that the USOC came to easily, but we continue believe it is the right action. While there are important questions to answer as we move forward with this process, we are eager for the hearing panel to begin its work and for our board to come to a final determination.”