By Sarah Fitzpatrick, Katie Distler and Tracy Connor
In the latest fallout from the scandal rocking the gymnastics world, the coordinator of the U.S. women's team stepped down Friday, citing stress from "the present climate."
Valeri Liukin — a former Soviet Olympic champion and the father of 2008 U.S. gold-medal winner Nastia Liukin — had been the coordinator since September 2016, when he took over from famed coach Marta Karolyi.
"I was truly looking forward to trying to turn this program around and bring success to our country and the gymnastics community. But the present climate causes me, and more importantly my family, far too much stress, difficulty and uncertainty," he said in a statement.
"It is time to move on in a different direction, at least for now. I wish the coaches and athletes continued success, and I stand ready to encourage and support all of them from a different vantage point."
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During a sentencing hearing for Nassar earlier this month, former national team member Mattie Larson singled out Liukin by name, saying he made her feel "completely invisible" when she was competing.
"It troubles me that he is now in that position, and I hope for the sake of current and future national team members, that he has changed," she said.
In a recent blog post, Nastia Liukin said her father was dedicated to athlete safety.
“He, as much as anyone else, wants to change the culture and environment of this program,” she wrote. “The first step was offering one of his two gyms, WOGA in Texas, as a temporary place for the Women’s National Team while they search for a new Training Center.
”He continues to stay committed to providing a safe environment for these young women working so hard at a sport we all love so much.”