The US Olympic Committee took steps Monday to decertify USA Gymnastics as the governing body for the sport at the Olympic level, choosing the nuclear option for an organization that botched its own rebuilding attempt in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar. In an open letter to the gymnastics community, USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said "you deserve better," and that the challenges facing USA Gymnastics are more than it is capable of overcoming as currently constructed. The announcement comes only days after the US team brought home nine medals from the World Championships in the first major meet in the lead-up to Tokyo in 2020.
By decertifying USA Gymnastics, the USOC—which has also faced criticism for its response to sex abuse cases—is taking major action against an organization that never grasped control over its own rebuilding, the AP reports. But the move also leaves a void that cannot be easily filled. In addition to supporting elite and Olympic athletes, and selecting teams and coaches for international competitions, USA Gymnastics serves more than 150,000 athletes in 3,000 clubs around the country. There is no other organization standing by to fill that need. "We will work to ensure that America's gymnasts have the support necessary to excel on and off the field of play," Hirshland said. "We are building plans to do just that no matter the outcome of the revocation process." (The former president of USA Gymnastics was indicted and arrested last month.)