There is a very disturbing story in the news that is a more tragic example of what I had already imagined.
A former USA gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors. According to the allegations, which date back to 1996, Nassar abused some of the athletes that were given to his care for injuries that they sustained while competing. A lawsuit filed in California court by one of the victims alleges that Nassar “sexually groomed” and then “sexually abused, harassed, violated and molested” her over several years. The abuse started when she was just 13.
It has long been an opinion of mine that the people involved in girl’s gymnastics are in the same venue with the Mom’s in “Toddlers and Tiaras”. These people seem to possess some sort of obsession with little girls that goes far beyond helping them develop self confidence and athletic prowess. The only comparison that I could make to little boys would be the Dads that start their boys body building when they’re five. Thankfully, we don’t see much of that. I speculate because body building is not a team sport and does not translate well to making the football or basketball teams.
Perhaps parents of girls would make that argument, that girls did not have many other sports to excel in prior to Title IX, and that gymnastics was the athletic outlet for girls. Maybe, but it seems to me that the extremes of the sport would warn off most parents. The athletic portion is the most grueling training that one could imagine, with a high likelihood of injury. The flip side is the beauty pageant aspect with the girls paraded about in tarted up outfits for their competition.
We criticized the Chinese during their Olympics for using girls that were not old enough to legally compete. If we can see the error of the Chinese’s obsession, can we not see how allowing girl’s under the age of eighteen to compete is detrimental to the child and ultimately the adult?
It seems like a pedophile’s dream scenario, one that the team doctor could take advantage of. Here’s hoping that justice is served for the girls involved and the doctor. I also hope that it is a wake up call for the parents of gymnasts everywhere.