clear
Thursday July 19th, 2018 3:52AM

Blackmun resigns as CEO as USOC addresses wide abuse scandal

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Scott Blackmun resigned as chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee on Wednesday, stepping aside so he can tackle his worsening bout with prostate cancer and to allow the federation to move forward under new leadership to address the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked gymnastics and other sports.

The 60-year-old CEO was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January and did not attend the Pyeongchang Games.

Blackmun leaves as calls for his ouster were growing louder — from two U.S. senators and, more notably, from a number of gymnasts and other athletes who said neither he nor the USOC at large reacted properly to cases including those involving Larry Nassar, the doctor who sexually abused members of the U.S. gymnastics team.

The USOC is conducting an independent review of when Blackmun and others learned the details about abuse cases at USA Gymnastics and whether they responded appropriately.

Susanne Lyons, a member of the board, will step down from that position and serve as acting CEO while the search for Blackmun's replacement begins.

At a news conference to kick off the Olympics, chairman Larry Probst said Blackmun had served the USOC with distinction and the board found no reason to relieve him. In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Probst said Blackmun has since received more information about the treatment he'll need.

"We need a CEO in place who can (tend) to this current situation and work hard to get things back on a positive track," Probst said.

The USOC said it was starting several initiatives, including providing new funding and resources for Nassar victims and others in Olympic sports who have been subject to abuse; sex-abuse cases in swimming, taekwondo and speedskating have also occurred during Blackmun's tenure. The USOC also will review its relationships with national governing bodies of Olympic sports and double funding to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

John Manly, an attorney representing Nassar victims in a lawsuit that seeks monetary damages and court oversight of USA Gymnastics, said it was victims speaking out about the USOC that forced Blackmun to resign.

"USOC has focused nearly all its efforts on money and medals while the safety of our athletes has taken a back seat," Manly said.

Blackmun's last several years at the helm of USOC have focused on establishing the SafeSport organization, which formed to compel all Olympic sports organizations to use the same rules for reporting and handling abuse cases.

It was a herculean task that involved raising millions of dollars to start an entity independent of the USOC that could police abuse cases in a similar manner as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency runs the anti-doping system in the United States.

But most of the cases in question occurred before the new protocols came into play. The shocking testimony in January from dozens of gymnasts who were abused by Nassar led to calls for a complete turnover of the USA Gymnastics board, and then for Blackmun's removal.

"The U.S. Olympic Committee must now bring on new leadership determined to deliver answers and accountability regarding how Larry Nassar was able to freely abuse young girls for decades, as well as answers to questions about abuse in other Olympic programs," said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Blackmun started as CEO just before the 2010 Vancouver Games and settled an organization that had been rife with infighting after the surprise removal of Jim Scherr and his replacement with Stephanie Streeter, who lasted barely a year.

Blackmun patched rocky relationships with national governing bodies and with the International Olympic Committee, renegotiating an agreement over sharing revenues from TV and sponsorship deals that caused problems between the two entities for years.

The reworked deal smoothed the way for the USOC to bring the Olympics back to the United States for the first time since 2002, when it landed the 2028 Games for Los Angeles. Some, however, criticized that deal as a consolation prize; LA really bid for the 2024 Games, which were awarded to Paris, and the IOC ended up granting 2028 to Los Angeles at the same time as the only other candidate for 2024.

Lyons has been on the board since 2010. In January, she was tasked with leading a USOC working group to address failings the Nassar case brought to light.

"The lesson we learned from the Nassar tragedy is, it's a wakeup call for parents, coaches and universities that the work is never done," Lyons said.

___

AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh and Associated Press writer Phuong Le in Seattle contributed to this report.

___

For more AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Health - Men's Health
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Blackmun resigns as CEO as USOC addresses wide abuse scandal
Scott Blackmun is resigning as CEO of the US Olympic Committee, citing health problems as the reason he'll depart after leading the federation for more than eight years
5:45PM ( 10 minutes ago )
In public spat, Trump taunts Sessions, AG doesn't keep quiet
Jeff Session is again facing harsh criticism from his boss. But this time, the attorney general is abandoning his usual stony silence and pushing back against President Donald Trump.
5:40PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Trump-backed senator gets GOP primary foe in Mississippi
Tea party-backed state lawmaker who came close to unseating one of Mississippi's U.S. senators in 2014 announces he will challenge the state's other senator, Roger Wicker
5:40PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Teacher barricades himself in class, fires gun; no one hurt
Police say a teacher who fired a gun inside a Georgia classroom taught social studies and was the play-by-play announcer for the high school's football team
5:23PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles hold commitment ceremony
Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles drink holy wine and repeat wedding vows in a commitment ceremony at a Pennsylvania-based church
5:22PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Kushner's clearance downgrade could leave him 'flying blind'
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has lost his access to the nation's deepest secrets. His credibility as a negotiator may be next
5:21PM ( 34 minutes ago )
AP National News
AP-NORC Poll: Most Americans say Trump is racist
A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that more than half of Americans, including large majorities of blacks and Hispanics, think President Donald Trump is a racist.
4:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Plenty of opinions, but few solutions to fix college hoops
The cracked facade of college basketball appears to be crumbling but there are few well-thought out ideas among the shouts to blow up a failing system: Get rid of one-and-done
4:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump calls for quick action on school safety, guns
President Donald Trump says Congress should act quickly on gun laws as he meets with lawmakers at the White House.
3:51PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Keith Richards apologizes to Jagger for vasectomy comment
Keith Richards says he regrets saying Mick Jagger needed a vasectomy after recently having his eighth child
3:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Agency rethinks how climbers dispose of poop on Alaska peak
The National Park Service is considering new rules for the disposal of human waste generated by climbers on North America's tallest mountain, Denali
1:10PM ( 4 hours ago )
Popular Alaska peak weighs new rules for climbers' poop
The National Park Service is considering new rules for the disposal of human waste generated by climbers on North America's tallest mountain, Denali
10:55AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Health
Opposition erupts as Iceland eyes banning most circumcisions
Icelandic lawmakers are considering a law that would ban the circumcision of boys for non-medical reasons, making it the first European country to do so
12:46PM ( 3 days ago )
British comedian Stephen Fry reveals he has prostate cancer
British comedian and actor Stephen Fry has revealed that he is suffering from prostate cancer
9:54AM ( 5 days ago )
LISTEN: Your first line of defense against heart diseas could by your urologist
Dr. Brent Sharpe shares conditions he sees as a urologist that often are the first signs of heart disease.
9:16AM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Health - Men's Health
In public spat, Trump taunts Sessions, AG doesn't keep quiet
Jeff Session is again facing harsh criticism from his boss. But this time, the attorney general is abandoning his usual stony silence and pushing back against President Donald Trump.
5:40PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Trump-backed senator gets GOP primary foe in Mississippi
Tea party-backed state lawmaker who came close to unseating one of Mississippi's U.S. senators in 2014 announces he will challenge the state's other senator, Roger Wicker
5:40PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Winning streak ends for stocks, but technology bounces back
Stocks fell in February as a historically long streak of gains came to an end, but technology companies managed do much better
5:39PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Californians bash Trump for bid to end climate change plan
California officials, schoolchildren and at least one billionaire denounced the Trump administration's plan to scrap Obama-era limits on emissions from power plants
5:37PM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Actress Sela Ward's husband running for Senate
The husband of actress Sela Ward is running as a Democrat for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi
5:35PM ( 20 minutes ago )