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Scott Blackmun steps down as CEO of US Olympic Committee - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Scott Blackmun steps down as CEO of US Olympic Committee

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Scott Blackmun, the CEO of US Olympic Committee, announced he will step down Wednesday afternoon, with board member Susanne Lyons to serve as acting CEO.

The USOC announced Blackmun was stepping aside due to his battle with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed in January and did not attend the Pyeongchang Games.

In the same announcement that Blackmun was stepping down, the USOC also announced it would install new reforms and initiatives designed to protect athletes from abuse.

Blackmun leaves as calls for his ouster were growing louder - from two U.S. senators and, more notably, from a number of gymnasts and other athletes who said neither he nor the USOC at large reacted properly to cases including those involving Larry Nassar, the doctor who sexually abused members of the U.S. gymnastics team.
  
The USOC is conducting an independent review of when Blackmun and others learned the details about abuse cases at USA Gymnastics and whether they responded appropriately.

He served as CEO of the organization since 2010.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a statement about Blackmun's resignation Wednesday afternoon, which read in part: 

“I have found Scott to be a principled and ethical leader of the USOC and it has been a pleasure to work with him. The relationship between the City of Colorado Springs and the USOC has never been better and much of the credit for that belongs to Scott.”

Acting CEO Susanne Lyons was selected as the chair of the USOC's working group addressing issues related to the Larry Nassar case. 

“While we are eager to review the findings of the independent investigation, the USOC is taking important actions now based on what we already know,” Lyons said in a news release. “We are evaluating the USOC’s role and oversight of all the National Governing Bodies, considering potential changes to the Olympic structure and aggressively exploring new ways to enhance athlete safety and help prevent and respond to abuse.”

John Manly, an attorney representing Nassar victims in a lawsuit that seeks monetary damages and court oversight of USA Gymnastics, said it was victims speaking out about the USOC that forced Blackmun to resign.
  
"USOC has focused nearly all its efforts on money and medals while the safety of our athletes has taken a back seat," Manly said.

The USOC announced the following reforms in a news release on Wednesday.

"Providing new funding and resources for support and counseling for gymnasts impacted by Nassar’s crimes and launching a new resource for athletes from other Olympic and Paralympic sports recovering from similar abuse.

Forming an advisory group to bring together survivors, advocates, child psychologists and other medical professionals to guide the USOC on stronger safeguards against abuse throughout the Olympic community, and effective support for victims. This may lead to additional changes to the USOC policies and methods for addressing cultural issues and conflicts of interest that may exist in sports, hampering prevention of abuse.

Launching a review of the USOC and NGB governance structure as defined by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, including seeking input from safe sport advocacy groups, the NGB Council, the Athletes’ Advisory Council, current athletes and policymakers to consider clarifications and changes to this structure. As the leader of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community, the USOC must ensure that its governance structure unequivocally provides the ability to oversee and act when necessary to protect athletes.

Revisiting USOC SafeSport procedures to determine what measures are necessary to ensure allegations of abuse are reported to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, in addition to law enforcement, and that necessary follow-ups occur. This also would enable NGBs and the USOC to be more aware of problems as they arise, spot trends, and know where more oversight and engagement are necessary.

Effectively doubling USOC’s funding of the Center for SafeSport to enable it to hire more investigators and staff, improve the speedy resolution of cases, enhance ongoing communication for victims and their families, provide age-appropriate training on recognizing and helping to prevent abuse, and offer better and more accessible resources online.

Ensuring that athletes have a stronger voice within the USOC. In addition to the AAC already in place, the USOC will seek input on its decision making from currently competing athletes and athletes who have competed in the past.

Working with USAG to address its governance issues, implement a culture change, and act on the results of the independent investigation once it is complete."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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