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Local gym reacts to Team USA Gymnastics' demise

Posted at 10:22 PM, Nov 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-10 23:22:09-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Gymnastics is a sport thousands of little girls (and boys) enjoy every year, but it's also a sport that's been under fire recently for its failings at the national level.

Larry Nassar, the former Team USA Gymnastics national team doctor, was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison last year after hundreds of former national team gymnasts came forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

The outrage generated by the case also reached USA Gymnastics for failing to protect its young female gymnasts from a monster.

That prompted the United States Olympic Committee to begin the process of removing the Team USA Gymnastics' status as a national governing body.

"I had a lot of mixed emotions about it," said Cory Meredith, who owns a gymnastics gym in Overland Park and is a former gymnast herself. "This is an organization that either as an athlete or a coach and now as a club owner, that I have been involved with pretty much my whole life."

At the same time, she recognizes Team USA Gymnastics also is an organization in dire need of change.

"That would be my sincerest hope," Meredith said. "I think that the young women who are brave enough to come forward, they have already sparked a change in our sport — a change that needed to happen. Silence breeds silence."

But it's little things about gymnastics culture that also need to change, which is why she said she's working hard to be more encouraging.

"We really try to focus on small successes and not focus on that you got a 10 at a meet or a 3 at a meet," Meredith said. "We like to focus on, 'You are building and moving forward.'"

She also has a suggestion for the governing body of gymnastics' future.

"I would like to see equal representation there," Meredith said. "I would like to see a board that has survivors, that has athletes who have participated in this sport, especially in (USA Gymnastics). Those they know what the culture was and what they can change."

Meredith still has high hopes for the future of the sport she loves.

"We're just really excited for any positive changes that can come from this," she said.