USA Gymnastics bans former Olympics coach Haney for eight years

(Reuters) – USA Gymnastics has suspended former U.S. Olympic team coach Maggie Haney for eight years for verbally and emotionally abusing gymnasts she oversaw, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the ban of one of USA Gymnastics’ more high-profile coaches takes effect immediately and will be followed by two additional years of suspension.

USA Gymnastics did not immediately respond to Reuters when asked for comment and attempts to reach Haney through the club she coaches in New Jersey were unsuccessful.

The decision to suspend Haney, a longtime coach of 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, was made by a three-member independent hearing panel, followed a Safe Sport hearing panel, the report said.

Haney, who until recently coached 2018 world champion Riley McCusker, was placed on interim suspension in January pending the outcome of a hearing into allegations she berated young gymnasts and demanded some of them practice and compete while injured.

Haney first gained international attention as Hernandez’s coach at MG Elite Gymnastics in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey. Hernandez went on to collect gold and silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

USA Gymnastics is still reeling from the sexual abuse scandal that involved former team doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in 2017 after more than 350 women testified about abuse at his hands.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Robert Birsel

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