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Rustam Sharipov, Accused of Being One of The Enablers In Gutsu's Rape Allegation, Denies Accusation

Former Olympic gymnast Rustam Sharipov has denied Gutsu's accusation regarding him being an enabler. "To all concerned: ...

Former Olympic gymnast Rustam Sharipov has denied Gutsu's accusation regarding him being an enabler.

"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," Rustam wrote in a Facebook post.

In a Metoo post, 1992 Olympic all around champion Gutsu alleged that legendary Soviet gymnast Vitaly Scherbo raped her while competing at the Stuttgart Cup back in 1991.

Gutsu accused Sharipov and teammate Tatiana Toropova of knowing about the rape incident and not standing up for her.

Toropova denied Gutsu's allegation but said that Vitaly did try to make out with her.

Sharipov received lots of support from fellow former gymnasts and friends who stressed that he is a "great person" and "would never do such a thing".

Among which are 1996 Olympic all around champion Lilia Podkapayeva of Ukraine and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu.

"We all know that you are person of great integrity, judgment and character. I stand with you and I believe you," Lilia wrote.

"I've known you for years and know you are an honest person. I know how much you care about women and children. You would never knowingly allow abuse to happen. I've heard all sides of this story and something isn't right. As many know I stand with any woman (when true which is most of the time) who has been victimized and comes forward from abuse. However, I do believe Rustam when he says he wasn't aware of any of the abuse because he would never cover for anyone who did this kind of sick thing. He's the most honest and decent human being," Dominique wrote.

Former US gymnast Kathy Johnson, who competed at 1984 Olympics, was the only one who did not discredit Gutsu's story suggesting that Rustam would sit down with Tatiana and sort things out.

"This has been an extremely upsetting time for anyone who loves our sport and its heroes. I hope it is possible for you, Rustam, and Tatiana to sit down with someone - perhaps Svetlana Boguinskaia who knows and loves you both - to sort through the horror Tatiana endured because of Vitaly Scherbo's inexcusable, reprehensible and CRIMINAL behavior. Perhaps memories are clouded by trauma and she remembers you there at some point and assumes you had to know. My hope is that you both can work toward the truth and that the love and unconditional support you are receiving from your friends and family here can help lead to some resolution. For everyone's sake."

1988 Olympic vault champion and Gutsu's former teammate Boginskaya has previously defended Rustam on Gutsu's original post.

During his career, Rustam competed for the Unified Team at 1992 Olympics, where he won gold in the team competition, and later for Ukraine. He won gold on parallel bars and bronze with the team at 1996 Olympics.

He currently resides in the United States where he works at Ohio State University.

Written by Gigi Farid

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