Women's Sport: USA Gymnastics bans former Olympic coach Maggie Haney for eight years


Ex-US Olympic Gymnastics coach Maggie Haney has been handed an eight-year coaching ban by governing body USA Gymnastics.

USA Gymnastics confirmed last week that the former coach would be unable to coach any USA Gymnastics athletes or in member clubs for at least eight years after it ruled she had breached the organisation’s ethical code.

The ruling comes after a two-month-long investigation into Haney, 42, after allegations she was emotionally and verbally abusive to her athletes, among them Olympic Champion Laurie Hernandez. Haney previously coached Hernandez alongside World Champion Riley McCusker, who wrote a letter critical of Haney’s behaviour, at MG Elite Gymnastics in New Jersey.

Six families were said to be involved in the proceedings brought against Haney with allegations of verbal abuse, mistreatment of athletes and overtraining among the accusations for USA Gymnastics to investigate.

Hernandez testified against Haney during the independent hearing panel which found the former coach had “violated the USA Gymnastics Code of Ethical Conduct, Safe Sport Policy, and other policies”.

Following the release of USA Gymnastics’ statement, Hernandez took to social media to explain Haney’s actions had caused her to have multiple panic attacks “where I’d just stand in front of the mirror and cry”.

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“She’d humiliate me in front of others without a doubt, constantly making comments about me gaining weight, have me work out on multiple injuries, curse at me… and much more that goes beyond my own words.”

Since 2013, Haney has had at least one athlete on the junior or senior national team every year.

Haney’s lawyer, Russel Prince, speaking after the ruling told Southern California News Group: “The ruling is regrettable but in no way surprising considering the heavy-handed nature of the investigative and hearing process.

“There is no fundamental fairness to the manner in which these matters are resolved. Clearly, I would anticipate an arbitration.”

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