Aly Raisman on USA Gymnastics: 'I never imagined it would be this bad'

Aly Raisman wants full transparency from USA Gymnastics, and they can only get that through radical organizational change. (Getty)
Aly Raisman wants full transparency from USA Gymnastics, and they can only get that through radical organizational change. (Getty)

Aly Raisman has had enough of USA Gymnastics’ promises. The former gymnast, Olympic gold medalist, activist and survivor of Larry Nassar’s abuse went on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday to talk about the organization’s failure to change, and what she thinks needs to happen going forward.

“I never imagined it would be this bad”

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Raisman spoke to Hoda Kotb on “Today,” and when Kotb asked her how things were going with USA Gymnastics’ post-Nassar internal clean-up, she did not mince words.

“I never imagined it would be this bad… There still has not been a full independent investigation by law enforcement. That is just absolutely absurd. It’s very clear this problem is much bigger than Steve Penny, Larry Nassar and this new coach. So it’s so important to get to the bottom of it. There is no new USA Gymnastics until we understand every single thing that happened. We can’t trust USA Gymnastics because they’re not being transparent.”

That’s a strong statement from Raisman, who has not been shy about criticizing the continued failures of USA Gymnastics. When Kotb asked her what former USAG CEO Steve Perry should have done to protect her and other gymnasts, she gave a simple yet sensible answer: contact law enforcement immediately.

“Well the first thing he should have done when he was even the slightest bit suspicious of Larry Nassar is to go and report it to law enforcement, and he did not do that. From the very beginning, his priority and USA Gymnastics’ priority was always to cover it up.”

Raisman was specific when Kotb asked her about what USA Gymnastics needed to do to change. She emphasized that anyone involved in covering up the Nassar scandal or protecting Nassar himself has to go, and she said that USA Gymnastics still employs a number of people who did that. She called out the CEO search committee for their lack of transparency in the hiring of Mary Bono as interim CEO. Raisman also called out the new board of directors for failing to understand what they’re truly dealing with.

“It’s more important to them to protect and fix this PR problem that they have. They need to understand this is a child-abuse problem. It is so widespread and far-reaching.”

Raisman didn’t rule out getting involved in running USA Gymnastics in the future, either as CEO or in another role. However, she said that she wouldn’t even consider it until there was full transparency in all areas. “If you are not transparent, you cannot learn from your mistakes.”

Things keep getting worse for USA Gymnastics

It’s hard to imagine how things could get worse for USA Gymnastics, considering that Larry Nassar sexually abused hundreds of young gymnasts for decades. The scandal broke two years ago, and the last two months have made it clear that they’ve learned nothing in that time.

Just four days after Bono was appointed as interim president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in October, she resigned due to an anti-Nike/anti-Colin Kaepernick tweet she posted. A number of prominent gymnasts, including Raisman and Simone Biles, called out Bono over the tweet.

Bono had been the interim replacement for Kerry Perry, who was forced out in September after appointing Mary Lee Tracy to be USAG’s developmental coordinator. Tracy had been publicly supportive of Nassar even after 50 women had come forward about the sexual abuse they’d suffered at Nassar’s hands. The backlash was instantaneous, and Tracy was forced to resign just three days after being appointed, with Perry following several days later.

Perry had only been the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics for nine months. She had replaced Steve Penny, who resigned in the wake of the Nassar scandal. Currently, Penny is under indictment in Houston for tampering with evidence in a sexual assault case. He’s been accused of removing documents related to the Nassar scandal from the Karolyi Ranch, the former USAG training facility. Penny pleaded not guilty on Monday.

And there’s a new scandal brewing as well. The tumbling coach for the USAG national team, Sergio Galvez, resigned on Sunday amid misconduct allegations. No details of the misconduct have surfaced, but the U.S. Center for Safe Sport placed an “interim measure” restriction on Galvez while it investigates.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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