An abridged history of sexual misconduct in Olympic sports

Feb. 21, 2018

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Since the 1980s, over 290 coaches and officials tied to U.S. Olympic sports organizations have been openly accused of sexual misconduct.

Source: Washington Post

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Athletes and critics say leading entities knew about this pattern and did not do enough to combat it.

In 2011, former Olympic gymnastics coach Don Peters was accused of sexually abusing teenage female gymnasts in the ‘80s. USA Gymnastics then banned him.

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IndyStar reported that a different former gymnast said she felt pressured by the then-CEO of USA Gymnastics not to pursue the allegations, which Peters denied.

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USA Gymnastics told IndyStar that the reported characterizations “do not reflect our recollection, and we work to treat anyone … with dignity and respect.”

In 2013, two women accused four-time Olympic speedskater Andy Gabel of sexual misconduct, allegations he denied in a statement to the Associated Press then.

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Three years would pass before Gabel was stripped of his lifetime membership with U.S. Speedskating.

Nancie Battaglia/AP

Fast forward to 2018: Former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar has been sentenced for criminal sexual conduct after pleading guilty in late 2017.

Reuters

Reports say more than 260 female athletes said they were abused by him. A 2016 lawsuit alleges Nassar began abusing one gymnast in 1994, IndyStar reported.

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“[The U.S. Olympic Committee] is still not acknowledging its own role in this mess. … It’s like none of us were ever abused!”

— Aly Raisman, two-time Olympic gymnast

Reuters

Since the 1980s, sexual misconduct allegations have spanned 15 Olympic sports, including swimming, taekwondo and speedskating, the Washington Post reported.

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At the 2018 Winter Olympics, for the first time ever sexual violence counseling centers are offering counseling, health care and legal advice.

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Also, President Donald Trump signed legislation on Feb. 14 that designates an external organization to handle abuse reports from sports governing bodies.

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