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Dec. 5, 2018 — A bankruptcy, but what about a real solution?

This afternoon, USA Gymnastics, already under severe financial pressure from hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the Larry Nasser affair and a likely target of a decertification action by the United States Olympic Committee a month ago, hit the panic button.

The national governing body of a sport which has put the names of Retton, Zmeskal, Strug, Moceanu, Dawes, Liukin, Douglas, and Biles into Olympic lore since 1984, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The move comes in the wake of a number of questionable decisions on the part of USA Gymnastics in the wake of the probe that saw the former team doctor land in prison for more than 100 years. Indeed, it was anyone’s guess who was really running the organization, given the recent resignations of Kerry Perry, then a scant five weeks later, Mary Bono.

The bankruptcy filing will likely buy some time for USA Gymnastics to work on fighing its decertification, but a more practical outcome is the likely consolidation of 350 complaints into a single court procedure.

“Our board has been talking about this bankruptcy strategy for a while now — well before the Section 8 complaint was filed,” said Kathryn Carson, chair of the USA Gymnastics board. “Our primary reason to do this is to expedite those survivor claims.”

Question is, what happens afterwards? It’s less than two years from Tokyo 2020, and for the States to try to repeat as team titlists on the women’s side and to try to put together a competitive men’s side even as the number of NCAA Division I collegiate gymnastics programs has dwindled to 15 (yep, it’s that low), it’s a tough ask when your governance is in such disrepute.

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