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USA Gymnastics Fires Top Doctor Edward Nyman 1 Day After Hiring Amid Backlash

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2019

The Olympic rings are on display near the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics venues in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. South Korea celebrates the 1st anniversary of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics which were held from Feb. 9 to 25 and from March 9 to 18 in Gangwon Province last year. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

Doctor Edward Nyman's tenure as the director of sports medicine and science for USA Gymnastics lasted a single day after the hiring was met with backlash.

"Dr. Nyman's employment will not continue due to a conflict of interest, and we will immediately renew our search to identify a qualified individual to lead our sports medicine and research efforts," the organization announced Tuesday, per John Barr of ESPN.com.

Barr explained Nyman's hiring was met with "instant reaction from the gymnastics community" as women in the sport, including many who said they were sexually assaulted by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, expressed "their discomfort with a male physician being in charge of athlete care."

Nassar was sentenced to 40-to-125 years on sexual assault charges to be served after a 60-year federal prison sentence after also being convicted on child pornography charges.

Attorney John Manly, who Barr noted represents more than 200 women who said Nassar sexually assaulted them, was one of those who criticized the Nyman hiring:

john manly @johnmanly

Competing elite gymnasts are stakeholders. A number of them were abused by Larry Nassar. None of them were consulted about this pick. None of my clients abused by Nassar want anything to do with male physicians. Typical. https://t.co/8yYAsUVn3d

Olympic legend Simone Biles was not pleased either: 

Simone Biles @Simone_Biles

I’m sorry.... what https://t.co/IbDTEemXNA

"To provide clarity, the decision to terminate Dr. Nyman's employment was not based on any comments made on social media platforms or anywhere else," USA Gymnastics said, per Barr. "In accordance with our employment policies, we cannot comment further on this personnel matter."

Barr painted a picture of an organization that is reeling following Nassar's crimes being exposed and a series of poor decisions. President Li Li Leung—who was criticized for insensitive comments she made about Nassar during an appearance on the Today Show—is the fourth president and CEO of the organization in two years.

Steve Penny resigned in March 2017 and faces tampering charges in relation to the Nassar case, Kerry Perry then stepped down in less than a year and U.S. Rep. Mary Bono resigned after four days in an interim role.

USA Gymnastics also filed for bankruptcy in December.

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