In what appears to be a telling indicator of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s (USOC) relationship with the victims of Larry Nassar, the former gymnastics Olympic team doctor who was convicted of molesting almost 200 girls and women, the new USOC CEO refused to speak to gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman after both attended a Senate hearing on Olympic sex abuse. Raisman, who became one of Nassar’s most public accusers when she came forward with her allegations of abuse, said she was seated just 20 feet away from incoming USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland during the Senate hearing, and walked up to her afterward to introduce herself.
“I said, ‘Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,’ and she kind of ignored me, but I was like, ‘excuse me,’” Raisman told reporters. “So she looked at me because I wasn’t going to let her leave. I said, ‘I’d really like to introduce myself to you.’ She’s like, ‘I’ve been instructed I can’t talk to you.’ So I said, ‘You can’t just say hi to me?’ She said no and then rushed out.”
The awkward first run-in comes in the midst of a lawsuit filed by Raisman and dozens of other gymnasts — including fellow Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney — that alleges U.S.A. Gymnastics not only failed to protect athletes from Nassar, but even actively worked to cover up the disgraced doctor’s crimes. Asked about why Hirshland refused to speak to Raisman, her spokeswoman said that the CEO had sent the gymnast an apology for the ‘misunderstanding.’
“It was a sincere apology and my sincere ask for a redo,” Hirshland later added in a brief phone interview with USA Today columnist Christine Brennan.
Read the full story at USA Today.