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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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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