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"The gymnastics community let out a collective 'shock' and 'disbelief' on Monday upon learning the news that former elite gymnast Todd Gardiner of the Illinois Gymnastics Institute and one of the most decorated Illinois coaches in the sport was found by USA Gymnastics to have violated their code of ethical of conduct," NBC5 reports.
"The Indianapolis-based organization declined to provide specifics, but a spokeswoman said Gardiner's name was added Dec. 7 to its list of coaches who are permanently ineligible to coach again in the sport," the Tribune reports.
According to an e-mail obtained by the Tribune, Gardiner retired Nov. 16. In the e-mail, which Gardiner sent out to IGI parents, he addressed his limited involvement with the program over the last several months. The e0mail did not provide specifics about what prompted his sudden retirement.
"I've owned and operated gymnastics facilities in the western suburbs for nearly 40 years and have committed my life to the community, our athletes, and IGI's core values," Gardiner's e-mail read, in part. "It has been a pleasure to serve all of you. Though my involvement with IGI is over, I know its best days are still ahead."
According to his online biography, Gardiner was a national elite champion in his youth who attended Hinsdale Central High School and went on to coach at the institute, which he opened in 1979. The institute, which has operated at various locations in DuPage County, has produced about 90 full-tuition college scholarships and qualified athletes to the U.S. Olympic trials, according to its website.
In 1999, Gardiner started the well-known "Chicago Style Meet," which is held each year at Navy Pier.
The spokesperson "also confirmed the action taken against Gardiner is not related to the national scandal involving a former elite sports doctor who had worked at Michigan State University and with whom Gardiner has known professionally.
"This month, Larry Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges. Nassar also is awaiting sentencing after he pleaded guilty to molestation charges."
* When USA Gymnastics Turned A Blind Eye To Sexual Abuse.
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