Steve Penny

Washington, March 17 (IANS) The President and CEO of the US Gymnastics, Steve Penny, has quit following intensified pressure on the organisation over its handling of allegations of sexual abuse over the years.

“We all care deeply about the safety of our athletes, which is fundamental to a rewarding experience at any level of gymnastics,” Xinhua news agency quoted Penny as syaing in a statement.

“It has been heartbreaking to learn of instances of abuse and it sickens me that young athletes would be exploited in such a manner.”

Last year, the Indianapolis Star published an investigative report which revealed that about 350 gymnasts had alleged abuse in gyms over two decades and that top US Gymnastics officials mishandled complaints and allowed accused coaches to move from gym to gym.

Former national team’s physician Larry Nassar was accused of 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

“Today’s announcement will hopefully allow US Gymnastics to shift its attention to the future with a secure environment for its athletes and continued success in competition,” US Olympic Committee (USOC) board chairman Larry Probst said.

Penny, 53, was named president of the US Gymnastics in 2005 after joining it in 1999.

Under his leadership, America has won 100 medals at the Olympics and world championships. The US has won the last two team titles at the Olympics as well as the last four all-around titles.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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