Yes, yes, YES. Heads obviously need to roll over the Nasser situation, and those heads need to come from the power corridors of USA Gymnastics.
To make the Olympic team in 1996, you needed to be in the top 5 at the USA gymnastics Olympic trials. (Shannon Miller and Dominique Moceanu were byes as they were injured by recognized to be the best gymnasts in the country.)
In 2000, doing well at the Olympic trials was no longer sufficient to make the team. Instead of the athletes who won the trials being on the team:
That year, a selection committee ranked the women vying for the United States Olympic team using their scores at the national championships and the Olympic trials. Then the committee, led by Bela Karolyi, the national team coordinator at the time, selected the six-member team in a closed-door meeting. The gymnasts who were not selected, Beckerman among them, were cast aside, often without explanation.
The two women with the highest scores at the trials are virtually promised spots, although they must show what Marta Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator and Bela’s wife, calls ”readiness” at a post-trials camp.
The remaining four athletes on each team will be chosen by a selection committee. In some cases, those making the selections will pick gymnasts who excel at one or two events over more well-rounded ones because it would strengthen the United States’ chances for a team medal.
As of 2016, i believe the team was chosen exclusively by committee. In other words, the way the team was chosen was 100% subjective. In 2016, the selection committee consisted of Marta Karolyi and a coach who former competed for the Ukraine. Excuse my prejudice, but I don’t have a lot of faith in former Eastern block coaches to “coddle” the gymnasts – aka protect them from abuse.
You might wonder why the team is now chosen by committee instead of by some objective process. Well, there are a lot of reasons, but the roll of the Europeans can’t be ignored. Basically, the Europeans (excepting the Romanians) are not capable of fielding large gymnastics teams filled with all-around competitors. They have disproportionate influence in the gymnastics governing body, and have successfully pushed for smaller and smaller teams and fewer gymnasts to compete in each event. Because of the latter factor especially, it becomes much more difficult to objectively select the best team.
What does all this mean? These gymnasts, most of them between 15 and 19, are completely subject to the opinions and preferences of their much older, much more powerful coaches. They are training 30 or more hours a week, living what doesn’t resemble a normal life, and they must please 70-year-old Eastern bloc coaches. It’s messed up.
Whose head would I like to see roll? Well, lots of them. But for a start, Marta. She should be out for good. She’s so old, she’d probably retire anyway. But nevertheless, I place a huge amount of blame on her.