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All Olympia Gymnastics Center, the Hawthorne gym that produced Olympic and World Championship medalists but found itself at the center of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, is closing.
All Olympia gained worldwide attention with the rise of Olympic champion McKayla Maroney, who revolutionized the vault and became one of the most recognizable women athletes on the planet after the 2012 London Games. Mattie Larson, a 2010 World Championships silver medalist, is also All Olympia product.
But All Olympia and its directors Artur Akopya and Galina Marinova has been named in multiple lawsuits related to the Nassar scandal, alleging that the Akopya and Marinova helped create a culture of abuse within USA Gymnastics that enabled Nassar's rampant sexual abuse.
Maroney and Larson were both sexually abused by Nassar while training and competing for the U.S. at major international competitions, in Maroney's case including the Olympic Games, at the U.S. national team training site at the Karolyi Ranch in Texas and while competing for All Olympia.
One of the lawsuits filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges All Olympia and Akopya and Marinova "fueled an abusive, harassing and degrading environment." That environment "allowed, concealed and promoted abusive behavior" by Nassar and former U.S. national team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi.
"It is with great sorrow to inform you that we have made the extremely difficult decision to close out AOGC gym at the Hawthorne location," Akopya and Marinova wrote in a Nov. 3 letter to AOGC gymnasts, parents and coaches. "It is the hardest and the most painful conclusion that we have to make in our life.
"As you know it has been a difficult few years in the gymnastics world. The rumors and accusations in the gymnastics arena create an environment that is unhealthy for our kids and staff, especially for us. The negativity surrounding our sport that we do dearly love has impacted us so much that we no longer feel we can do our job properly."
The decision to close AOGC comes just days after AOGC filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Nassar, USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State, where Nassar was a longtime faculty member. The suit alleges breach of contract and fiduciary duty and failure to protect USA Gymnastics members from known dangers.
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