What are the changes you would like to see USA Gymnastics make?
Sey: I think the bigger question is: How do we reimagine child athletics? It's a tough question, because the culture is competitive. Winning overrides everything. To reimagine that in sports is quite a hill to climb, I recognize. But what if we could reimagine these governing bodies as bodies that protect children first and foremost, instead of being in the business of promoting winning above all else? Reimagining coaching methodology. We're a long way away from that. But one of the things I'm hoping we can at least start the conversation on with parents is: Ask questions of the coach you're leaving your kid with for five hours.
Shenk: This is not about one bad dude. He got away with it for years and had hundreds of victims because he was operating in a milieu where abuse was not only tolerated but accepted. Young girls were a dime a dozen and the coaches and organization used it as raw material for this massive marketing machine that was making people wealthy. USA Gymnastics has done some surface-level things to at least make it seem like they're trying to make a difference. We just look to the cues of the Simone Biles of the world, and what they're saying is "No, not enough has happened." There's a lot of shoes left to drop on this.
Denhollander: Money, medals, reputation, status -- they value something else more than protecting the children in their care. Larry was not the problem. He was a symptom. Say we walk away from the next Olympics with a bunch of gold medals. At what cost? The bodies and souls of little girls that are emotionally, verbally, sexually and physically broken. Can we win if we stop abusing? I think you can with a healthy coaching environment. But what if you can't, just in theory? What if we sacrifice prowess in the athletic world for a non-abusive world? I say that's a win.
(c)2020 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.