The True Cost of Olympic Gold, with Marci Hamilton

Season 4Episode 3February 25, 2022

Team doctor Larry Nassar abused hundreds of girls and young women, leaving Marci Hamilton at CHILD USA determined to examine how the toxic culture of sports allowed this to happen—and what we must do to protect young athletes at all levels of sports in the U.S.

In recent years, how we look at the Olympics and elite sports has begun to change—driven by cases like that of Larry Nassar, the team doctor who for years and years got away with sexually assaulting and sexually abusing girls and young women. Marci Hamilton, the founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a think tank dedicated to child abuse and neglect, lead a case autopsy, conducted by subject-matter experts to find out how this was allowed to happen. And how can we prevent it from ever happening again? The Game Over Commission explored the toxic culture of sports, which values medals and money over athlete well-being. Hamilton joined us to discuss what the commission discovered, and what must be done to allow children and young adults to experience the joy of sports without the danger of abuse. Take a listen.

Topics in this episode:

  • The Larry Nassar case (2:28)
  • Game Over Commission (3:44)
  • Toxic culture in elite sports (7:27)
  • The economics of sports and pressures on athletes (12:41)
  • Near-zero regulation (17:44)
  • What parents need to know (27:17)
  • Total power, zero oversight: Team doctors (29:17)
  • Best child protection policies? (38:55)
  • Bankruptcy used against victims (40:44)


Prof. Marci A. Hamilton at the University of Pennsylvania is the founder, CEO, and academic director of CHILD USA, a nonprofit academic think tank. She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.

The biographies of those who testified before the commission are available online, including those of Larissa  Boyce and John-Michael Lander.

Footage of the hearings is also available on the CHILD USA site.

In January 2022, Game Over Commission released a case study on the abuse perpetrated by Larry Nassar.

Bishop Accountability

AAU – Amateur Athletic Union

IOC – International Olympic Committee

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association

USOC – U.S. Olympic Committee

USOPC – U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee

Listen to our earlier interview with Dr. Marci Hamilton, “Radically Vulnerable: Achieving Justice for Survivors,” Season 1, Episode 10 (September 30, 2019)

For more information about National Children’s Alliance and the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers, visit our website at And join us on Facebook at One in Ten podcast.

Transcript to come.