US Olympics CEO resigns amid gymnastics abuse scandal

Embattled US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun (pictured in Sept 2017) has stepped down following calls for his resignation in the wake of the USA gymnastics abuse scandal

Embattled US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun (pictured in Sept 2017) has stepped down following calls for his resignation in the wake of the USA gymnastics abuse scandal

Embattled United States Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun has stepped down following calls for his resignation in the wake of the USA gymnastics abuse scandal, it was confirmed on Wednesday.   

Blackmun leaves as calls for his ouster were growing louder - from two US 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 US gymnastics team. 

The 60-year-old CEO's resignation also comes a month after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He did not attend the Pyeongchang Games.  

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. 

It also will review its relationships with national governing bodies of Olympic sports and double funding to the US 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 US Anti-Doping Agency runs the anti-doping system in the United States.

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