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Lawmakers release Nassar investigation, propose tighter controls of U.S. Olympic sports

gymnast flips in air above a balance beam.

After an 18-month investigation into how former sports doctor Larry Nassar was able to abuse so many athletes for so long, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators released their findings on Tuesday.

“Repeatedly, men and women entrusted with positions of power prioritized their own reputation […] over the health and safety of athletes,” the report finds.

Investigators also found the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics (the organization designated to administer amateur gymnastics), and Michigan State University repeatedly “took actions to conceal their negligence and failed to enact serious reforms, even after they were faced with the courageous accounts of survivors.”

Lawmakers simultaneously introduced legislation they say is designed to prevent future abuse, including:

  • Increased congressional oversight of the USOC, starting with giving Congress the power to dissolve the USOC Board of Directors;
  • Giving lawmakers the ability to decertify USA Gymnastics and other sports’ National Governing Bodies;
  • Requiring clear policies and rules throughout amateur athletic institutions about reporting allegations of abuse;
  • USOC spending $20 million a year to properly operate SafeSport, a center dedicated to preventing and investigating abuse.

Olympians and national champions including McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber voiced support for the measures in a press release issued by lawmakers.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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