USA Gymnastics in investigating coach Maggie Haney for verbal and emotional abuse, according to a report by the Orange County Register based off emails within USA Gymnastics.
Haney is best known for coaching 2016 Olympic gold medalist Lauren Hernandez and Olympic hopeful Riley McCusker, who won gold with the U.S. team at the 2018 World championships.
The coach allegedly screamed, threatened, bullied and harassed gymnasts regularly, per the report. She allegedly told those who were rehabbing foot injuries to remove their boot casts in order to continue training and competing, per the report. At least four different families have made allegations and some parents are reportedly frustrated with the SafeSport department’s “lack of urgency.”
The Orange County Register and Southern California News Group obtained emails between executives within USA Gymnastics that reference the allegations and investigation. Several allegations are from before Li Li Leung was appointed as president and CEO in February. Mark Busby, USA Gymnastics’ in-house counsel, was aware of the allegations since March, per the report.
USA Gymnastics released a statement about its policies and said it will only comment on a matter “if and when the resolution involves a public-facing result.”
“Athlete safety and well-being are top priorities for USA Gymnastics, and all misconduct reports and concerns are taken very seriously and handled proactively. Thoroughly reviewing, evaluating and investigating a safe-sport report is vital, which means it is not necessarily a quick process. While it may appear to the outside that a report or matter is on hold or ignored, the truth is that the report/matter is being dealt with confidentially in accordance with the established process and procedures, which fully comply with federal law and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee requirements.”
USA Gymnastics is still embroiled in the aftermath of Larry Nassar abusing hundreds of gymnasts and his actions being covered up by organizations. After superstar Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles spoke emotionally at the U.S. Championship of USA Gymnastics failing to protect its athletes, Leung acknowledged the organization had work to do. She told reporters the following day:
“We will continue to work hard to demonstrate to Simone and all of our athletes, members, community and fans that we are working to foster a safe, positive and encouraging environment where athlete voices are heard."
Last week, a Michigan State University trainer who reportedly failed to report Nassar’s abuse at the school was accused of sexual assault and violence.
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