U.S. Gymnastics: An Unnerving Scandal

WARNING: This article contains explicit topics. Please read at your own discretion.

It would appear, as the #MeToo whirlwind of dark truths and ugly realities has come to surface; yet another large segment of U.S. society has felt the shockwaves of this very disheartening reality women must faec in their daily lives and existence.

Since the beginning of last year (2017), there has been a huge backlash against such organizations as U.S. Gymnastics, the United States Olympics Committee, Michigan State University (USOC), Twistars, and a host of other (yet smaller) organizations. The reason? Well, they all share one commonality that will likely shock the wider world at large.

The point is: all of these organizations share one horrible denominator. The people in lead-roles all CONSCIOUSLY maintained their silence in the wake of a 30+ year scandal(s) involving some of these people in positions of authority. Some of these people had (and recently have) sexually abused more than 100 women AND girls involved with U.S. Gymnastics. All of this under the guise of these people being called “doctors” and “coaches”. Of course, they were trained in their discipline. But they were also predators and child molesters who enjoyed the status given upon them. You see, when you have no-one to answer to; then absolute power exists. And where absolute power exists; there is absolute corruption.

I remember when I first heard about this shocking news, I was completely disgusted by what I had read. Not one to be unfamiliar to corrupt work environments, this breaking news of such famed gymnasts as Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles; rightly accusing soon-to-be imprisoned (for a duration of a lifetime, through 2 different sentencing’s combined) Sports Doctor, Larry Nassar.

I felt sick as I watched Aly Raisman give her official testimony to this trial. I was disgusted and completely shaken to hear the obstacles that these women and girls endured through. Mind you, most of the victims endured through the sexual assault of Larry Nassar when they were minors. Mere girls who had aspirations and dreams of making it big in the gymnastics world. To think of all of the hours of practice they must have put into this sport; to think of all the sacrifices they made in order to get to where they landed; it’s completely nauseating to know that such renowned and classically trained girls and women could be subjected to such nasty and grotesque behavior on the part of their doctor and coaches.

It makes one realize just how dire our situations have become as of late. We are truly living through a time of revelations and truths being uncovered at long-last. To know the dark secrets and mysteries of the “upper-echelons” of our society, and in doing so; to also know the otherwise unheard horror stories of such predators abusing their positions of power, is quite unnerving altogether.

I can only remorse and feel sorrow for these poor young women as I realize that our society has failed them; immensely. To know that they once had to sit in silence and know the truths that they knew of; is so disorienting that I often feel sick just thinking of the pains and ills these human beings had to go through.

Looking back now, I have come to the awesome-realization that this is a moment of true history-in-the-making. This goes beyond the #MeToo movement. This is about a movement towards the betterment of human treatment of women, and moreover, of better treatment for all humans. The unique thing about this movement, is that women (throughout history) have often times led some of the world’s greatest transformative phases. Both men and women, when united together as a front, can certainly make a difference if they allow themselves to organize properly and make their points concise and clear such as how Aly Raisman did in her testimony.

To say I’ve been re-inspired to the movement of absolute truth is a vast understatement. Though our situations may seem helpless in the face of such obstacles and adversity; it’s still exciting nevertheless to be reminded of the true importance and meaning of our collective lives.

It’s one thing to know corruption exists in places of high-authority and high-pressure; but it is quite another thing to realize that these poor women and girls had to endure through such sick and twisted sexual assault and conduct.

This is such a serious issue, that I’m surprised I had just recently discovered about this issue only a couple of days ago. I feel as though we, the people, have been deceived yet once again by the powers-that-be. There are times when I often wonder what life for these women and girls would have been like if they never entered the sport of gymnastics in the first place. Would they lead lives of simplicity? Or, would they find even more immense suffering as is prone to those who aren’t famous or in positions of power? Yet again, due to the fact that they’ve lived such successful lives; they’ve likely endured through more suffering than the average person in society. It’s all very surreal and subjective to the individual person’s perception of their own pains and ills.

I could go on about this issue for days and weeks; deciphering and analyzing the power-corruption doctor Larry Nassar, the coaches, and even the officials who held oversight over the activities of the U.S. women’s gymnastic team throughout countless generations of Olympic games. But the fact of the matter is that we as a society continue to accept such extreme cases of abuse that are far-flung from any normal sense of what the human experience is like. It’s so incredibly mind-boggling to me, and the more I think about this issue, the more I begin to rationalize the truth of our collective existence.

Money is the answer.

Only money (and the status that comes with it) could allow grown-ass adults to abuse their power. Money and our perceived status of where we stand in the “world” are the only two things that could allow for such atrocities to occur. For such predators to prey on the weak, to take advantage of innocence, and to exploit human talent. Money and status are the two single most defining forces in our collective societies. Conclusively; I’m not stating that I have any idea how this world-spread problem can be fixed; but what I am doing is acknowledging that we will always have a problem with “powerful” human beings utilizing their powers in sick and wicked ways.

For better and for worse, we will yet have to shift through similar news stories with the same gut-wrenching feeling of disgust and utter denial. For you and I, and all of the millions of other Americans, are merely seen as “units” or “cogs” in the “machine” of our corporate-run nation.

What helps me through each and every day, is the old pledge of allegiance my schools would have us, the students, recite. It went something like this: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

In times of darkness, this very pledge has come back to me through countless nights of restless waking nights and unnerving nightmares full of condemning reality. As I realize my options in the future may very well be one of a bleak existence; I realize that my worth stems not from any form of occupation; but stems from my ability to learn new trades; new crafts, and to better myself as an individual rather than just another employee to a corporation.

Forever in Your Debt,

R.S. Noel

 

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Comments

  1. Very well written piece on this horrible story … I live in Southeast Michigan and the radio has dedicated much time to replaying excerpts of the girls’ statements throughout the entire hearing which took a week. And Nassar had the audacity last week to send the judge a six-page letter wherein he asked permission to not have to listen to the testimony as it was ruining his mental health.

    The judge, who has received much acclaim for her sympathetic and supportive statements to the young women who endured this humiliation, told Nassar he had agreed in his plea agreement to listen to all the witness impact statements – however, when he took his plea, the prosecution had no idea so many young women would come forward. The TV stations were streaming the sentencing of Nassar today and I watched it. He exhibited no remorse, nor any reaction to the Judge’s harsh rebuke of him – she said she essentially gave him a death sentence and would not take her dogs to be treated by him. Immediately after receiving his sentence, his defense counsel indicated they would file the appeal (likely today, not even waiting for the 21-day appeal period to do so).

    There will be more backlash at the University for letting this happen – many want the President to resign, so stay tuned for that aspect as well.

    • Wow, it really does go to show us all just how heartless and monstrous doctor Larry Nassar is. He is a man of cowardice and of self-centered sin. He doesn’t even have the decency to accept fully his sentencing. I hope his appeal gets turned down. What a bunch of hogwash; I know he’ll spend the rest of his days being used in prison like the pathetic monster he is. Instead of being a man about his own self-made problems, he decides to turn tail and still try and find some form of remorse? Now he will definitely be the most hated man in America for all of 2018.

      Despite all of this, I hope he understands that his freedom is no-longer one of freewill. He needs to pay (not in any monetary manner) for what he’s done to these girls and women. Despicable is the only term I can think of when I imagine just how smug he must look right now since the camera’s are no longer geared towards him. His life is one full of corruption; just like the people that also share similar positions of power.

      • He seemed to believe all along that he was privileged and exempt from punishment. I think he put on a show a few times of using a handkerchief to dab at his eyes, but it was never sincere – it was all for the media and he told the Judge that it was a media circus during the witness testimony. The hate for him is really evident in all the comments on every social media post I’ve read to date.
        I have not seen one person say or write “well, maybe you are mistaken about Larry ….”

    • It’s about time there’s some form of credibility accounted for. In all honesty, I didn’t think she would step down. But she likely realized that the media frenzy wouldn’t die-down until she stepped away from her position. The next issue to handle are the 3rd-party organizations such as U.S. Gymnastics, the United States Olympics Committee, and Twistars, Though I am full aware of the level of corruption in any organization or hierarchy, I am appalled that these corporations (knowing the truth would come out eventually/one day) chose to remain silent for such a long, long time. The level of human stupidity really is appalling to me; I understand money is important – but from my own personal stance on this matter; I would rather soon-be homeless than work for an organization that allows for the molestation of little girls and young women so candidly behind the scenes of said-organizations. I suppose even the smallest form of respectability for innocent beings is not allowed in any environment of cut-throat, profiteering places, such as these organizations.

      • Last Friday there was a closed-door meeting of the Trustees of Michigan State University and only one Board member suggested she step down, so it really escalated the past few days and especially after the Nassar sentencing Wednesday early afternoon … now they are suggesting three of our ex-governors take over the MSU president position … that story is all over the national news and our local news this morning. This story will be around for a long time. They will say that she knew about the Title IX investigation into Nassar in 2014, but didn’t familiarize herself or was too busy to delve into all the details.

  2. I was so shocked when I first saw the news about this. It’s so sad that money has been put before the safety and mental and physical health of these girls.

    • Same as well; I was stunned when I found out. On one hand, I was disgusted; and on the other hand, I was so immensely proud of these young women from coming forward. If I was their parent, I would be over-the-moon proud of them. Better than any gold medal for sure; this couldn’t have been easy at all. Watching some of the testimonies of the victims were amazing and awe-inspiring. Strong and brave women for sure.

      • I’ve realized that a lot of people came forward, this past year. I feel relieved that maybe there is hope after all. There is a saying, and it goes like this: “Stand up for what is right, even when you’re standing alone.” If I were in that same situation, I would have been nervous, but did it anyway. If it meant stopping the bad and ugly, and protecting the future. Thankyou for shring with us. R.S. Noel

      • Thank you damareaogbuewu, it felt really therapeutic to share my thoughts. I also noticed the same thing, even at my college. Many of the students feel as though we’re getting a crappy deal. Even though I’m majoring in Accounting and Financing (and minoring in Computer & Information Science); I feel the same way to a certain degree.

        On top of that, there are people my age who are literally starving out there on the streets of L.A. and can’t find even a decent place to stay for a night. It’s tragic when we, as a society, have become so enlarged and so reckless, that we begin to forget about our most vulnerable. I usually keep these thoughts to myself, because I know better than to say anything that seems “out of line” with the “norm” of society.

        But for some reason or another, I’ve been wondering a lot lately what will become of our society’s future (in America at least), when we start to lose more jobs than we create positions to counter-balance the effect. I’m beginning to start my own things (like on YouTube, and also trying to enter writing contests), but even then I don’t feel as though I’m doing enough.

        Maybe I should just take a breather and pause for a moment to remind myself that I’m only one person and can only do so much. Who knows, maybe after I go through this tumultuous time, I might actually feel stronger for it. Thank you for communicating your similar thoughts as well, I appreciate the feedback!

      • As a part of my project, I would like to ask how certain people viewed the United States with our current president, and what habits do you think should/ could be shifted?

      • Wow, this is an awesome project you have going on!

        If I had to be honest, my personal views on the United States (being that I live here as well), have changed drastically over the span of my 24 years of living. From the time I was very young; I was always a strong supporter of the idea that anyone could do anything that they set their mind to. Now though; I’m wiser from the experiences I’ve had so far. I realize that it’s a combination of so many unpredictable situations and events. No single person could ever accurately depict what their life will turn out to be. No amount of education or preparation can ever fully predict the kind of life we will all lead (on an individual level).

        With that said, I also still believe in the power of communication and also the power of networking with other people on a very deep and personal level. If anyone has that kind of personality trait, in which they’re outgoing and talkative; I believe it’s much easier to traverse through life without feeling “left out”. Of course, circumstances change and life has tendency to steer our lives in so many unexpected ways.

        As a whole though, I still believe in the dream that is the “American dream”. I still believe in the fact that hard work (and a lot of perseverance) can get you far in your personal life. As individuals though, we may not always like the outcome of our efforts, and we may feel cheated or slighted; but as a whole, I believe if you understand the nature of “doing whatever it takes” to achieve your goals/aspirations/dreams; then you’ll be fine. Now, the means in which people achieve such end-goals is quite another answer all-together. Morally speaking, this has always been a massive issue for human beings. But like I said, if you know what it takes to achieve your end-goal, you can still do it in America. It’s just a little bit harder nowadays; that’s all.

      • Thank you for your perspective for my project. A lot of people (when we have full conversations) can’t believe that these things are coming from a 12 year old. I love to hear what a lot of Americans in general are thinking. Please be sure to keep an eye out for my post on my data I’ve collected. Thanks for sharing. Remember: Never be afraid to speak your mind; Stand up for what is right. Even if you are standing alone.

      • Wow you’re only 12, that’s amazing! You remind me a lot of how I used to be. I think you’ll be fine though, you seem a little more in-tune with your sense of environment and have amazing situational awareness. Glad to be able to make your acquaintance, I’ll definitely be checking up on the statistics and information you gather for your project.

      • Thanks rsnoel. You’ve been a lot of help. I like your political and life views. I wish we could have more people that had an optimistic look on life like you. Be sure to check out my posts, and keep watching out for my post on my project. Again, Thank you so much. Keep speaking for what you know is right, even if you are standing alone.

      • I did update a bit on my project. Although, I think I would do it in sections, just so that some bloggers, would practically be jumping out of their seats waiting for the next part, to come up. I guess you could relate it to the season premiere, or finale of your TV show.

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