Shawn Johnson East On USA Gymnastics: 'Change The System Completely'

Editor's note: The following article contains sensitive information and may not be appropriate for certain readers.

The most important story in sports right now is the story that is most difficult to read about, talk about, and think about — but this story demands our attention and respect. 

Former USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and United States Olympic doctor Larry Nassar has been accused of abuse by at least 150 women. This is a case that is not relegated to one portion of the sport — professional, college, or Olympic — but, instead, is absolutely pandemic.

Shawn Johnson East is the latest woman to speak to directly to USA Gymnastics, addressing the organization not simply as an associated member of the Nassar scandal but as an essential culprit. 

The former Olympian was crystal clear: "We need to rewrite the book." 


The Iowan joins others, perhaps most prominently Aly Raisman, in calling for systematic, total change. Both women say that USAG and USOC prize and celebrate medals quickly, but have failed in the most utter and crucial sense of the word. 

"Talk is worthless to me," Raisman said in her statement to an Ingham County, Michigan, courthouse. "We're dealing with real lives and the future of our sport. We need to believe this won't happen again. For this sport to go on, we need to demand real change — and we need to be willing to fight for it. It's clear now that if we leave it up to these organizations, history is likely to repeat itself." 

In her video, Johnson East is once again perfectly clear in her message when saying that success on the podium means nothing if it comes at the expense of failing children.

"[USA Gymnastics has] overlooked the simple and most important fact that the people they are dealing with are minors and are children and do not have the capabilities to stand up for themselves or to speak for themselves. And when these little girls have devoted their entire lives to one dream, and they feel scared to voice something that has gone wrong because they feel that that dream could be compromised, that is disgusting. I think, as it pertains to USA Gymnastics, every single procedure, rule, guideline, rulebook you’ve ever made needs to be thrown out the window and redone."

Yesterday, three USA Gymnastics board members resigned, but it seems that the change for which Johnson East, Raisman, and others are looking is much, much more foundational. 

Simone Biles Finishes On Top On Day 1 Of 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Simone Biles took the top spot in the senior session on Day 1 of the 2018 U.S. Championships, with an all-around score of 60.100. She was followed by Morgan Hurd in second place with a 57.00 and Riley McCusker in third place with a 56.050. Gymnasts will compete again on Sunday evening, when a new senior National Champion will be crowned.

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Leanne Wong - Bars - 2018 US Championships Podium Training

Leanne Wong emerged as the leader on Day 1 of the 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston, with a total all-around score of 56.400. She was followed by Sunisa Lee with a 55.900, and Kayla DiCello in third place with a 55.250. Gymnasts will compete again on Sunday, when the final rankings will be established. 

Sam Mikulak Leads All-Around After Day 1, 2018 US Gymnastics Championships

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Sam Mikulak of the USOTC leads the senior men's all-around standings with an 85.15 after the first night of competition at the 2018 US Gymnastics Championships, in Boston, MA. Akash Modi of Stanford posted the second highest all-around score with an 84.1 and Allan Bower of Oklahoma followed in third with an 83.85.

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Simone Biles - Interview - 2018 GK US Classic

Simone Biles. Sam Mikulak. Competition for a worlds national team. 

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In the past three months, I've visited 16 gyms and have about eight more to go. Needless to say, I've almost literally be living in airports and hotels.

Top Difficulty & Execution Scores At The 2018 European Championships

The 2018 European Championships took place this past weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, with medalists from a variety of countries, including Russia, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Belgium, to name a few. We saw very high difficulty on all the events, from Boglarka Devai’s 6.0 vault to Nina Derwael’s 6.3 bars routine. We also saw some impressive execution, with gymnasts scoring in the mid- to high-8.0s on bars, beam and floor, and into the 9.0s on vault. 

World, Olympic Medalists Highlight 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships Field

Simone Biles - Interview - 2018 GK US Classic

Press release via USA Gymnastics:

European Crowns For Devai, Derwael, Wevers, de Jesus dos Santos

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Day 2: 2018 UEG Artistic Gymnastics European Championships, Full Event Replay

Press release via the European Union of Gymnastics:

Junior European Gold For D'Amato, Klimenko, Villa, Stanciulescu

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Day 2: 2018 UEG Artistic Gymnastics European Championships, Full Event Replay

Press release via the European Union of Gymnastics:

Russia Defends European Gymnastics Team Title

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Day 2: 2018 UEG Artistic Gymnastics European Championships, Full Event Replay

Press release via the European Union of Gymnastics: