Jenkins: Aly Raisman: Conditions at Karolyi Ranch made athletes vulnerable to Larry Nassar

To Aly Raisman, there is culpability in the crummy little details. The showers were moldy, she says, and the food was so repulsive that it seemed calculated to give them eating disorders. “It didn’t sit well in your stomach, something wasn’t right,” she says. If U.S. Olympic authorities couldn’t be bothered to care about the dirty showers and the lousy diet at the Karolyi Ranch, no wonder they didn’t catch the sexual molester who preyed on her and her gold medal gymnastics teammates for years.

From 2001 to 2017 Bela and Marta Karolyi’s Texas ranch was the designated National Team Training Center for gymnastics, an engine that generated gold medals and million-dollar salaries for officials like former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny. But for the gymnasts it was a shabby, penny-pinching place, Raisman says, of dorm rooms jammed with old bunk beds covered with stained blankets, and sometimes, crawling with bugs. “Honestly, it was disgusting,” she says.

U.S. Olympic Committee head Scott Blackmun called it “an excellent model for the Olympic movement.”

Raisman, now 23, is suing the USOC and USA Gymnastics over that disconnect, alleging the organizations “willfully” refused to “implement appropriate safeguards” at the ranch and in other settings that left her and her teammates vulnerable to the sex crimes of USA Gymnastics’ head trainer and medical director Larry Nassar.

The gymnasts were the very faces of the Summer Olympics, who brought home individual all-around gold medals in four straight Summer Games and team golds in 2012 and 2016. Yet at the monthly Karolyi camps, “The shower smelled like eggs, and we would bring sandals to wear because it was so disgusting,” says Raisman. “After you showered you were like, I almost feel dirtier than before.” Training camps are supposed to be spartan — even unpleasant — but Raisman said they weren’t …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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