DALLAS (CBS11) – The gymnastics world is reeling over the continued revelations of years of sexual abuse of elite gymnasts at the hands of former U.S. team physician Dr. Larry Nassar.
In Dallas, the CEO of ASI Gymnastics believes the sex crimes committed by Larry Nassar are emblematic of a wider problem.
“There are thousands of girls who’ve grown up with disorders and injuries that they’ve suffered through, because of the abuse and culture of the sport”, David Holley said Thursday. Holley leads the ASI training program. With ten Dallas area locations, ASI develops gymnasts from pre-school age to elite competitors.
Holley is a member of a business board for the U.S. Gymnastics Association, the governing body that selects Olympic teams. For 20 years, Holley says he has advocated against what he calls a “win at all costs” mindset for athletes. “A lot of the news is talking about sex abuse by Dr. Nassar, but we’re also talking about the culture that allowed that activity to take place. I’ve struggled with this for 15 years, trying to fight this system, that I believe abuses children for money,” he said.
Holley points to physical and psychological strain placed on elite athletes as a payoff for performance.
“Our program won’t put a seriously injured girl out there. It’s the physical misconduct that aggravated a lot of us in the industry. Our goal is to develop a child and team to win the Olympics, but I will never sacrifice a child for a gold medal,” he said.
Holley believes many of Nassar’s victims were pressured into silence by coaches and trainers who only focused on winning notoriety, endorsements, clients and Olympic medals.
“The medals earn those in the industry money, and for that, there’s a trail of abused children, sexually abused, physically and emotionally abused over the years,” he says.