SHARED by: Sam Katorkas, Director of Gymtime Gymnastics 

The recent news about Larry Nassar and the USA Gymnastics organization has gripped the gymnastics community and stirred up some strong emotions among the staff at Gymtime. Nassar, a trusted doctor on USAG’s staff repeatedly abused hundreds of vulnerable gymnasts hiding behind the façade of medical treatment. Individuals like Nassar are a disgrace to their profession and the companies with which they affiliate. As the story continues to unravel, we have learned that the USAG organization itself has seemingly been turning a blind eye to these reports for years. 

As coaches, educators and facilitators at Gymtime, we dedicate our time and lives to the development and safety of our students. We are committed to creating a safe and nurturing environment for children of all ages. When we hear about individuals taking advantage of young people we cannot help but feel the need to distance ourselves from their appalling behavior. 

For those who are not familiar, there are two branches of gymnastics in the United States: one is USAG (USA Gymnastics) which is the major gymnastics organization governing body for the United States. Founded in the 1960s, USAG is responsible for training the U.S. Gymnastics Teams for the Olympics and World Championships. This is the organization being investigated for their lack of action to athletes’ reports of misconduct.

The other organization is USAIGC (United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs). Established in the 1970s, USAIGC was reorganized in 2001 into the program it is today. USAIGC operates independently from USAG and is an optional-only competitive program which provides gymnasts with the flexibility to perform a variety of gymnastics skills. The USAIGC program encourages gymnasts to refine their skills in a safe environment within a realistic amount of time. This gradual learning curve provides the gymnasts the ability to have a longer and more fulfilling gymnastics career. The goal of USAIGC is to keep gymnasts enjoying the sport through their high school and college years. This is the branch the Gymtime Gymnastics program has exclusively been affiliated with for more than five years. 

At Gymtime, we operate under their philosophy of creating a well-rounded athlete and person, not just a gymnast. Our coaches, teachers and facilitators are here to support and encourage our gymnasts to be the best they can be. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the Nassar scandal and applaud them for their courage to come forward. Our hope is that bringing this to light will create a safer environment for child athletes moving forward. 

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