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USOC interim CEO's excuse for why incoming CEO snubbed Aly Raisman is ridiculous

Asher Fair
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
90   //    26 Jul 2018, 13:15 IST

Aly Raisman at the Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing On Protecting And Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes
Aly Raisman at the Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing On Protecting And Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes

After Tuesday's two-hour Senate hearing about the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal concluded, two-time Olympic gymnast and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman attempted to approach incoming United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Sarah Hirshland to introduce herself. However, Hirshland completely snubbed her.

Over 300 people have accused Nassar of sexual assault under the guise of medical treatment over the course of , and Raisman is one of them. A total of 85 of the people who have accused the 54-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician of sexual assault attended this hearing in Washington, D.C.

Nassar has been issued three lengthy prison sentences for his predatory actions. These three sentences are for 60 years in federal prison on three child pornography charges, between 40 and 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges, and between an additional 40 and 125 years in state prison on three more sexual assault charges.

Nassar was given these three prison sentences this past December, January and February, respectively. He is currently serving the 60-year federal prison sentence, and he is doing so at United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Tucson, Arizona.

He was physically assaulted within hours of being released to the general population of United States Penitentiary, Tucson earlier this week. He has been there for more than five months, but he had not been released to the general population of the prison until earlier this week.

As far as Raisman's encounter with Hirshland after the Senate hearing concluded goes, here is her account of what happened, according to Sports Illustrated.

"I said, ‘Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,' and she kind of ignored me, but I was like, 'excuse me'. So she looked at me because I wasn’t going to let her leave. I said, 'I’d really like to introduce myself to you.' She’s like, 'I’ve been instructed I can’t talk to you.' So I said, 'You can’t just say hi to me?' She said no and then rushed out."

Hirshland was hired to be the new USOC CEO on Thursday, July 12 after former USOC CEO Scott Blackmun resigned in February in the wake of the fallout from the Nassar scandal. He cited ongoing health issues resulting from his prostate cancer as his reason for resigning.

Lynn Raisman, the mother of Aly Raisman, asked USOC interim CEO Susanne Lyons, who Hirshland is scheduled to officially replace on Monday, August 20, about why Hirshland snubbed her daughter following the Senate hearing when her daughter attempted to introduce herself to the incoming USOC CEO.

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According to Think Progress, Raisman's mother asked Lyons whether Hirshland had "been instructed by the USOC not to talk to all survivors present, or just Raisman?"

Lynn Raisman stated that Lyons told her that Hirshland was not given any instructions not to talk with the survivors in attendance at this hearing. However, Lyons also gave a possible reason for why Hirshland may have snubbed her daughter.

This possible reason is beyond ridiculous. Here is what it is, according to Lindsay Gibbs of Think Progress.

"Lyons told [Lynn] Faber [Raisman] that perhaps Hirshland had merely mistaken Raisman — a two-time Olympic champion who was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a turquoise ribbon and the phrase: 'We are here, we have our voices and are not going anywhere' — as a member of the media, which is why she refused to talk."

When I first read this, I wanted to laugh. But it really isn't funny. In fact, it's unfortunately and sadly more along the lines of pathetic. Even the USOC have come out and stated that this is not the case, although they do stand by their claim that the way by which Raisman's encounter (or lack thereof) with Hirshland unfolded took place so as a result of a misunderstanding.

But just think about how ridiculous the mere thought of this suggestion is.

Raisman has been one of the most outspoken critics if not the most outspoken critic of the people and institutions that protected, defended and enable Nassar. Among these institutions are USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, two institutions at which Nassar worked, as well as the USOC themselves.

How could the incoming USOC CEO possibly not know who Raisman is? This isn't even bringing up the fact that she is a two-time Olympic gymnast with three gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal to her name.

Not only that, but Raisman was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a turquoise ribbon and the phrase: "We are here, we have our voices and are not going anywhere." Guess whose quote that is?

It's Aly Raisman's quote.

Why would anyone, much less the incoming USOC CEO, think for even a split-second that Raisman could possibly be a member of the media, especially with this T-shirt on?

Perhaps most notably, the USOC literally just filed to remove themselves as defendants from the lawsuits that were filed against them by Raisman and five others, including 2012 Olympic gymnasts McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber. They did so earlier this week. Do they not even actually know whose lawsuits they are filing to remove themselves from?

Of course, Hirshland hasn't yet officially taken over as the USOC CEO, but shouldn't she know a lot if not all of this as the incoming USOC CEO, especially since she attended this Senate hearing?

For the record, I don't doubt that Hirshland knows a lot if not all of this. In fact, I believe she does. The question is why Lyons would believe that anyone would think that she possibly doesn't, especially when she only presented this possibility as a possible reason for Hirshland totally snubbing the second most decorated gymnast in United States Olympic history.

Asher Fair
SENIOR ANALYST
Beyond the Flag Expert/Editor Sportskeeda Senior Analyst SportsPress Owner
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