USA Gymnastics will not force athletes to return to a site that is synonymous with extremely painful memories for victims of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse.
Kerry Perry, the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, announced a plan on Thursday to move the national team training center from the current Karolyi Ranch location in Huntsville, Texas.
"USA Gymnastics has terminated its agreement with the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas," Perry said in a statement. "It will no longer serve as the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center.
"It has been my intent to terminate this agreement since I began as president and CEO in December. Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this. We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes."
The Karolyi Ranch training center has been the primary training site for the nation's best gymnasts since 2001. The Texas site, which is located about 60 miles north of Houston, has been recognized as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site since 2011. A number of gymnasts, including gold medalists Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, have said that Nassar abused them at the site, which is owned and operated by gymnastics training legends Bela Karolyi and Marta Karolyi.
In an appearance on ESPN's Outside The Lines, Raisman urged USA Gymnastics to stop forcing girls to return to the site of Nassar's heinous crimes.
“I hope USA Gymnastics listens because they haven’t listened to us so far," Raisman said. "I hope they listen and I hope they don’t make any of the girls go back to the ranch. No one should have to go back there after so many of us were abused there.”
Biles, too, spoke up in favor of the move. She acknowledged the dread of having to return to Karolyi in order to train for Tokyo 2020.
“It breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” Biles wrote in her statement which announced that she too was abused by Nassar.
The announcement comes as Nassar, who has been convicted of assaulting nine girls and has been accused by more than 100 women in total, is in Michigan for the third of a four-day sentencing hearing for multiple counts of sexual misconduct. He has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography charges.