USA Gymnastics statement from CEO Kerry Perry

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USA Gymnastics hosted the American Cup on Saturday during a tumultuous time.

In January, Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison on multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.

More than 150 women spoke at his sentencing, many critical of USA Gymnastics’ handling of the Nassar affair and its overall culture.

Shortly after, the entire USA Gymnastics board resigned under pressure from the U.S. Olympic Committee. An interim board was recently appointed with six independent members added earlier this week.

On Wednesday, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun also resigned, citing ongoing health issues resulting from prostate cancer.

USA Gymnastics is searching for a replacement for women’s national team director Valeri Liukin, who resigned last month, citing stress from the present climate. Liukin was not named in any lawsuits against USA Gymnastics.

A statement from new USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry:

“There is no doubt that all of us have been forever changed by the courageous women who shared their deeply personal experiences in the sentencing of Larry Nassar. I was in the courtroom to listen to the incredibly brave women explain in vivid and painful detail the impact he had on their lives. The best way to honor our athletes is to ensure that we do everything we can to prevent this from happening again by making bold decisions and holding ourselves to the highest standards of care. We have already taken steps to strengthen our safe sport efforts, including adopting the Safe Sport Policy; requiring mandatory reporting; prohibiting one-on-one interactions and grooming behavior; simplified reporting; educating members regarding safe sport; continuing to implement all of the Deborah Daniels recommendations, of which 80 percent already are being implemented; and building an Athlete Task Force. The National Gymnastics Foundation, in cooperation with USA Gymnastics, has established an Athlete Assistance Fund to provide the financial means and guidance for gymnasts who have suffered sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics to obtain counseling services. Our work is far from being done, and we are committed to further building an environment that empowers and supports our athletes as they develop the confidence, character and life skills that will allow them to succeed. We hope everything we do going forward makes this very clear. We need the gymnastics community to join with us to accomplish this for both the young men and women who are pursuing their gymnastics dreams today and to honor those who have gone before.

USA Gymnastics is committed to creating a culture that empowers and supports our athletes. The organization has and will continue to take specific and concrete steps to promote athlete safety and prevent future abuse by adopting and vigorously enforcing the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy, which requires mandatory reporting, defines six types of misconduct, sets standards to prohibit grooming behavior and prevent inappropriate interaction, and establishes greater accountability. Other efforts taken to strengthen that commitment include establishing a dedicated, toll-free number, 833-844-SAFE, the safe sport email address of, and online reporting to simplify the process for reporting; building a safe sport department that is developing a comprehensive education plan for members; and adopting bylaw amendments to provide the basis for further developing our safe sport programs and governance. The National Gymnastics Foundation, in cooperation with USA Gymnastics, also has established an Athlete Assistance Fund to provide the financial means and guidance for gymnasts who have suffered sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics to obtain counseling services. The Athlete Assistance Fund, a designated fund of the National Gymnastics Foundation, will be administered by an independent third party.”

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Alina Zagitova eyes more gold at worlds; women’s preview

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Alina Zagitova hasn’t lost internationally in 18 months, and that doesn’t figure to change this week at the world championships in Milan.

The 15-year-old Russian is favored to become the youngest world gold medalist since Tara Lipinski (duplicating her feat from the Olympics) and make it five straight Olympic or world titles for Russian women, the longest streak for one country since American Carol Heiss won six straight Olympic/world titles from 1956 through 1960.

Zagitova would also become the first Olympic women’s champion to win worlds the following month since Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992. That’s largely because Olympic champions usually skip worlds in Olympic years. Since Yamaguchi, the only one to compete was Yuna Kim, who grabbed silver in 2010.

Zagitova may be young, but she may not have the longevity of Kim to make it to a second Olympics. Russia turns over a new class of elite women’s skaters every year.

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Alexandra Trusova won the world junior title as the first woman to land two different quadruple jumps in one program. Trusova isn’t old enough to compete at the senior worlds until 2020.

Zagitova’s current rival and training partner, Olympic silver medalist and 2016 and 2017 World champion Yevgenia Medvedeva, withdrew from worlds due to injury.

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Which leaves the last two Olympic bronze medalists, Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada and Carolina Kostner of Italy, plus PyeongChang fourth-place finisher Satoko Miyahara of Japan as the top challengers this week.

None finished within seven points of Zagitova at any competition this season, the Russian’s first on the senior international level.

Zagitova set herself apart at the Olympics by putting all of her jumps in the second half of her programs for 10 percent bonuses and landing them all with positive grades of execution.

The U.S. contingent includes national champion Bradie Tennell, two-time Olympian Mirai Nagasu and Mariah Bell (replacement for 2017 U.S. champion Karen Chen).

It is the end of a challenging season for U.S. women. In the autumn, none qualified for the Grand Prix Final for a second straight year (after at least one had done so each of the previous seven seasons).

In PyeongChang, no U.S. woman finished in the top six for the first time in Winter Games history. Tennell, who emerged this season after placing ninth at 2017 Nationals, was the top U.S. Olympic finisher in ninth.

Tennell goes into worlds as the top seeded American — seventh — by best international scores this season.

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Olympic golf qualifying, format largely unchanged for 2020

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf tournaments qualifying and format will remain largely the same as they were for the sport’s return to the Games in 2016, according to Golf Channel, citing a memo sent to PGA Tour players.

The format will again be four rounds of stroke play with 60 men and 60 women taken from the world rankings, according to the report.

The qualifying window to determine the rankings will be July 1, 2018 to June 22, 2020 for men and July 8, 2018 to June 29, 2020 for women. That’s a slight change, as for 2016 the dates were the same for men and women.

The 2016 process saw a maximum of two men and two women per country, or up to four if they were ranked in the top 15.

Then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said one month after the Rio Games that he hoped the Olympic golf format would be changed to have more medals awarded.

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