United States Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun has stepped down following calls for his resignation in the wake of the USA gymnastics abuse scandal, it was confirmed on Wednesday.
Blackmun, who faced stinging criticism for his handling of the case involving team doctor Larry Nassar which rocked the sport, departs after eight years in the role.
The 60-year-old administrator had recently disclosed he was battling prostate cancer.
“Given Scott’s current health situation, we have mutually agreed it is in the best interest of both Scott and the USOC that we identify new leadership so that we can immediately address the urgent initiatives ahead of us,” USOC Chairman Larry Probst said in a statement.
“The USOC is at a critical point in its history. The important work that Scott started needs to continue and will require especially vigorous attention in light of Larry Nassar’s decades-long abuse of athletes affiliated with USA Gymnastics.”
USOC said board member Susanne Lyons would replace Blackmun as interim chief executive as the hunt for a permanent successor got under way.
Blackmun’s departure comes after he had faced calls to resign for his alleged failure to act swiftly as the Nassar scandal unfolded, claims rejected by USOC.
Multiple US senators had demanded his resignation after a Wall Street Journal report that said USOC was made aware of allegations surrounding Nassar in 2015 yet did nothing to intervene.
USOC had defended Blackmun’s handling of the case, with Probst telling reporters in Pyeongchang at the Winter Olympics this month that “he did what he was supposed to do and he did the right thing at every turn.”
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