Mistreatment of young gymnasts alleged against Anna Li, USA Gymnastics’ new athletes’ rep, and her mom
When Samantha Medel, distracted by the death of her grandmother, hesitated and then failed to complete a vault in training, she knew what was coming next.
As expected, her coach began screaming at her so loud that the entire gym could hear, Medel and her mother Linda recalled.
“Get your fat ass over the vault! You’re too fat to get over the vault!” the Medels recalled the coach screaming.
The coach was Anna Li, an alternate on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and named to USA Gymnastics athletes’ council last month.
The selection of Li to represent athletes with USA Gymnastics, the sport’s embattled national governing body, shocked several athletes who have trained under Li at Legacy Elite Gymnastics in Aurora, Illinois, and the gymnasts’ parents.
“I can’t think of anyone who’s ever been a fan of Anna’s,” Samantha Medel said. “Why would USA Gymnastics want the meanest, most narcissistic person to represent athletes?”
Li and her mother Jiani Wu, also a coach in the gym, are routinely emotionally and, in the case of Wu, physically abusive toward young female gymnasts, Legacy gymnasts and their parents allege in interviews, formal complaints to USA Gymnastics, and emails to a USA Gymnastics national team sport psychologist obtained by the Southern California News Group.
Li, a former UCLA All-American, and Wu, an Olympic medalist for China, are both being investigated by USA Gymnastics for verbal and emotional abuse of young gymnasts, according to six people familiar with the investigation.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed with USA Gymnastics this month, according to two people interviewed by the investigator.
Li and Wu “adamantly and vehemently deny” abusing young gymnasts, said Sam L. Amirante, an attorney representing the women.
“They’re really sweet people. I’ve never seen anything like (abuse). They really care about the kids and are great coaches,” continued Amirante, who …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World