Early this morning, Tatiana Gutsu, the 1992 Olympic all-around champion in women’s gymnastics, took to Facebook to add her voice to the growing #MeToo campaign, where women share their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Gutsu accused fellow 1992 Olympic gold medalist Vitaly Scherbo of raping her when she was just 15 years old.
According to Gutsu’s public post, Scherbo raped her in 1991, a year before their Olympic victories, when they were in Germany to compete at the DTB Cup. This would’ve made Scherbo around 19 at the time of the alleged assault.
Gutsu wrote on Facebook:
Who rape me in Stuttgart Germany DTB 1991.
Monster who kept me in my own prison to be afraid for so many years.
Scherbo, a Belarusian, and Gutsu, a Ukrainian, were both trained inside the Soviet gymnastics system, which, at the time that the alleged assault took place, was crumbling. At the 1992 Olympics each helped the Unified Team (aka the Commonwealth of Independent States) win their respective team gold medals. In individual competition, they each won the all-around golds. In addition to defeating American Shannon Miller in the all-around, Gutsu also won the silver on the uneven bars and tied for a bronze on the floor exercise. Scherbo dominated the men’s competition in Barcelona, winning four event golds in addition to the all-around and team titles, which brought his total gold medal haul to six. Scherbo was the most decorated athlete at the 1992 Olympics.
After the Olympics, Gutsu, though still quite young, retired, reportedly due to back problems. She hasn’t been in the spotlight much since her Olympic triumph. She eventually moved to the U.S. and owns a gym in Michigan.
Scherbo also moved to the U.S. after the 1992 Olympics, though he continued competing for Belarus until the 1996 Games. He currently owns a gym in Las Vegas.
In addition to Scherbo, Gutsu also singled out 1996 Olympic parallel bars champion Rustam Sharipov and Tatyana Toropova, alleging that they were enablers. Sharipov, who was teammates with Scherbo on the 1992 Unified Team, is currently the head coach of Ohio State’s men’s gymnastics team.
We’ve reached out to Gutsu, Scherbo, and Sharipov and will update this post when we receive comment.
Update 10/19: Rustam Sharipov has responded to the allegations of enabling with a post of his own on Facebook. In it, he writes, “To all concerned: I can only speak to the accusations pertaining to me, which are false. This is the first I have heard of any improper behavior.”