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Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Paperwork Filed For USA Gymnastics


USA Gymnastics has filed for bankruptcy. The organization that oversees gymnastics in this country has struggled to recover ever since Larry Nassar, the former team doctor, was convicted of molesting seven gymnasts in his care and accused of abusing hundreds more. Since then, the organization has cycled through three CEOs, major sponsors pulled away and more than 300 plaintiffs filed suit. For more on this, we are joined by reporter Alexandra Starr from our studios in New York.

Alexandra, thanks for being here.

ALEXANDRA STARR, BYLINE: No problem. Good to talk with you.

MARTIN: You have been covering this story really since the beginning. So can you tell us - was this kind of the inevitable that USA Gymnastics would have to file for bankruptcy?

STARR: People have been talking about this now for months, so it's not a surprise. And as you said in the introduction, it's sort of, like, the latest debacle for the organization.

MARTIN: What does this mean? I mean, when we think about USA Gymnastics, its role in cultivating gymnasts from the U.S. to compete in the Olympics - I mean, we're - the next Olympics is coming up in Tokyo in 2020, right? What does it mean for those games?

STARR: So the United States will definitely field a team in 2020, whether USA Gymnastics is the organization that facilitates all of that is in question. But certainly, the U.S. is going to be present there. And Simone Biles, who, you know, people regard as the best gymnast in history, will be there. So we have to remember there's a difference between USA Gymnastics and the team that it's been fielding. The women, in particular, have been extraordinary. They're the world champions. And everyone is pretty certain that the U.S. will dominate at the podium again there.

MARTIN: It'll just happen under different auspices. It just won't be USA Gymnastics.

STARR: Well, we can't be sure. But what we can be sure is that Team USA will be represented.

MARTIN: You and I have touched on this before in covering this story. When USA Gymnastics has been grappling with all this, trying to come to grips with the crimes committed by Larry Nassar, how does it affect parents who are trying to decide whether or not to get their kids into this sport?

STARR: That's an excellent question, Rachel. And it's something I've been thinking a lot about. You know, one way this bankruptcy proceeding could affect gymnastics in the United States - I don't think it's going to affect the very elite, the Simone Biles, you know, the team that is going to go to the Olympics.

MARTIN: Right.

STARR: But in terms of the pipeline and development, I wonder if some parents will elect not to put their children into this sport. And also, are there going to be kind of the regional competitions, the national camps that have worked over the years to develop that nascent talent? Is that going to proceed with this organization filing for bankruptcy? That's an open question.

MARTIN: Yeah, what does this bankruptcy mean for the victims who filed suit against the organization?

STARR: So what it does is it puts a hold on those lawsuits. So at this point, they were in the process. All of these gymnasts who have filed suit, they were in the course of filing these suits and it going to trial. They were getting depositions. They were getting emails and documents. All of that comes to a halt. So we'll have to see what happens.

MARTIN: We don't know if they're going to get the money that they're filing suit for, the damages.

STARR: Or their day in court.

MARTIN: Right.

STARR: When is that going to happen?

MARTIN: OK. Reporter Alexander Starr, she covers USA Gymnastics.

Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

STARR: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF LRKR'S "POPS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alexandra Starr