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 safesport@usagym.org, 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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