Larry Nassar trials sends shockwaves to Staples

Picture+from+Paul+Sancya%2FAssociated+Press

Picture from Paul Sancya/Associated Press

By Abigail Fleming ’20

On June 30, 2017 Westport’s YMCA showtime gymnastics team qualified for a showcase in Austria under the delegation of USA Gymnastics (USAG). Five months later this news began to mean something different.

USA Gymnastics is a world renowned organization, but also the organization doctor Larry Nassar was apart of when he sexually abused young girls, some who were only six years old. Nassar was accused of sexual abuse by 256 people and has been charged with the possession of child pornography. He had been working for USAG for 32 years and high ranking members of the organization were fully aware of his crimes. Despite this, USAG refrained from uncovering the truth until this year when these allegations became public.

“If they never said anything about Larry and it was still going on while we were traveling in Austria, what could’ve happened then? That just makes me feel weird,” Simone Lantier ’20, a member of the Westport YMCA team, said. Lantier went on to explain how the idea of Nassar committing these crimes and going unpunished makes her worried about going to a foreign country as a part of the organization that allowed him to do this.

USA Gymnastics is responsible for Lantier and her team’s plane ticket, logo wear and uniforms while in Austria for the Gymnaestrada showcase. But, this isn’t the part that has her worrying. “If one of us gets hurt, they’re not going to take us to a doctor in Austria,” Lantier explained. Instead, she’ll be taken to a USAG doctor, which was Nassar’s old job.

On top of this, Lantier is concerned for how seriously her team will be taken. USA Gymnastics was once an organization that people looked up to, but she’s now worried about the reputation of American gymnastics, saying how “USAG is falling apart.” All of the countries attending the Austria showcase will know about the Nassar scandal, and Lantier worries they’ll be judged for it.

USA Gymnastics was once an organization young gymnasts dreamed to be apart of, but for now the organization’s reputation seems to be tainted.