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Gymnastics coach’s suspension extended to a year arbitration concluded

Coach was accused of abusive training techniques
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 12:14 AM EDT
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MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - A local gymnastics coach accused of physically and emotionally abusing her athletes has been suspended by a national organization during an arbitration hearing for her initial suspension, putting an end to a three-year case. None of the allegations involved physical contact, but were related to training techniques and gym atmosphere.

The arbitration process took twenty hours over two days, during which the coach, Amy Nyman of New Heights Gymnastics in Wauseon and Maumee, and the athletes faced each other and testified.

In April, after investigating complaints leveled by twelve gymnasts, the U.S. Center for SafeSport found Nyman’s training techniques to be abusive. SafeSport is an organization that is federally mandated to protect Olympic and paralympic athletes.

Several of the gymnasts spoke to 13abc. We concealed their identities to protect their privacy.

“When I would walk into the gym for practice, fear would just come over me,” says one gymnast.

“I would pull up to the gym and see her car, and cry and beg my mom not to make me go,” says another.

After the independent arbitration, SafeSport’s findings that Nyman abused alcohol in front of athletes and retaliated against other coaches were dismissed.

However, the findings of physical and emotional misconduct related to Nyman’s training practices were upheld, and sanctions were increased. Her six month suspension doubled to one year with probation, community service, and mandatory counseling.

The claimants provided 13abc with a statement following the arbitration. It reads, in part: “Our voices have been heard. We are no longer victims, but survivors.”

New Heights Gymnastics also submitted a statement that reads, in part: “Ms. Nyman and New Heights will continue to categorically deny the accusations that have been made against her at USA Gymnastics and the US Center for SafeSport.”

This is the statement by the claimants, in full:

“It has taken a significant amount of strength, courage, and resiliency for us to tell our stories. We did, and our voices have been heard. We are no longer victims, but survivors.

We hope that our participation in the SafeSport process creates awareness surrounding the prevalence of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse in sports. Furthermore we hope that the outcome of our case ignites a cycle of change to a culture of abuse that has been present for decades in the sport of gymnastics and in our local community.

No child should have to be subjected to a culture of abuse to reach their athletic goals. If our stories give just one athlete, one coach, or one parent the ability to recognize abuse and the courage to use their voice and take a stand, then we have made a difference!”

Collectively,

Athlete Claimants 1-12

USCSS Case No. 2020-02552″

This is the statement by New Heights:

With respect to Ms. Nyman, the arbitrator’s recent ruling indicated that insufficient evidence was available to support multiple claims which therein resulted in multiple allegations against Ms. Nyman being dropped completely. Her temporary suspension was reduced from 18 months to 12 months and concludes this coming spring. Ms. Nyman looks forward to moving forward and positively impacting lives as she has for many years. The claims that remained amounted to little more than what some might perceive as harsh coaching tactics. Interestingly, the type of allegations made are those far too often “glorified” in our culture when it comes to male athletes – such as in Disney’s popular film, Remember the Titans, and countless others. By the standards to which Ms. Nyman is being held, nearly every coach in every sport would be sanctioned or suspended. Even so, Ms. Nyman and New Heights will continue to categorically deny the accusations that have been made against her at USA Gymnastics and the US Center for SafeSport. That said, Ms. Nyman wishes those athletes who lodged complaints because they perceived negativity only the best of health, wellness, and success in their futures.

Neither USA Gymnastics, as the national governing body for the sport in the United States, nor the US Center for Safe Sport regulate gymnastics clubs and training facilities or associated business entities. USA Gymnastics has jurisdiction only over their own sanctioned competitions and the competitive gymnastics events and their own competitive program coaches’ certifications. Therefore, no interruptions to any associated programming or events at New Heights will result and classes will continue to be taught and managed by caring, dedicated professionals with a focus on fun.

Throughout this lengthy and debilitating process, Ms. Nyman has cooperated and remained transparent every step of the way with the investigation. She continues to comply with the temporary sanctions issued by the Center. Unfortunately – and complicating the matter for all involved - highly confidential information regarding internal US Center for Safe Sport investigative matters were publicly leaked to the media, including 13abc. The leaks of this information are inappropriate, unjust, and undermining to what should be a fair and impartial process.

Ms. Nyman appreciates the overwhelming support the community has demonstrated in these personally and professionally trying times. While some know her as the two-time Ohio USA Gymnastics “Coach of the Year”, most who have been coached by her remember the positive life lessons she has instilled in them that have carried them far beyond success in the sport.

After more than two decades of success, New Heights looks forward continuing to provide high-quality, safe, and fun gymnastics instruction for all children – of all ages, of all ethnicities, and from all backgrounds - in the Northwest Ohio community long into the future.

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