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Rhonda Faehn, women’s program head, ‘no longer with USA Gymnastics’

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Rhonda Faehn, the head of the U.S. women’s gymnastics program since 2015, is no longer with USA Gymnastics.

“This is a personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail,” USA Gymnastics said in a press release on behalf of president and CEO Kerry Perry. “We recognize that change can be difficult, but we will not be deterred from making necessary and bold decisions to transform our organization. At USA Gymnastics, we are focused every day on creating a highly empowered culture that puts our athletes first.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be communicating some positive changes that reinforce our desire to have our athletes train and compete at the highest level in an empowering and safe environment.

“USA Gymnastics is moving forward and positioning for the future with the commitment to our athletes’ safety and well-being at the heart of everything we do. We encourage member clubs, coaches, administrators and the gymnastics entire community to align their efforts to this important task. Together, we will create a culture of empowerment for the young men and women who are pursuing their gymnastics dreams today while honoring those who have gone before them.”

Faehn, the latest high-ranking USA Gymnastics official to leave the organization after the Larry Nassar sexual abuse crimes, was asked by Perry to resign Thursday, according to NBC News and national team gymnasts on social media.

Perry told Faehn, a senior vice president, only that USA Gymnastics needed to “move forward” from the Nassar scandal, according to NBC News, citing two sources with knowledge of the conversation that took place during a national-team camp in Tennessee.

Perry came from outside USA Gymnastics when she replaced Steve Penny as the national governing body’s president in December after Penny resigned amid the Nassar scandal.

“We have recently found out that Kerry Perry has asked Rhonda Faehn to resign from USA Gymnastics,” was posted on U.S. all-around champion Ragan Smith‘s Instagram with an image of Faehn addressing about 20 gymnasts. “We all strongly disagree in this decision and believe that Rhonda is the glue that is holding us together right now. We all TRUST her and believe that she is moving team USA forward.”

National team member Margzetta Frazier‘s Instagram and Twitter accounts were taken down after publishing a similar message Thursday.

Faehn, a 1988 Olympic alternate, joined USA Gymnastics full-time in 2015 as a senior vice president in charge of the women’s program after 13 years as University of Florida head coach.

In summer 2015, a coach overheard U.S. gymnasts Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols discussing Nassar’s pelvic treatments as national team doctor. The coach reported it to Faehn, who reported it to Penny, according to NBC News.

USA Gymnastics has been criticized for not immediately calling police. Though Nassar stopped working with national-team gymnasts, it would be another year before he was fired from Michigan State, where he also sexually abused athletes.

Raisman called for Faehn to step down last week, according to the Indianapolis Star.

“I reported my abuse to Rhonda Faehn and so did Maggie Nichols, and I don’t know what she did or didn’t do with that information, but I didn’t get contacted by the FBI for over a year, and in that time 50 to 100 gymnasts were molested,” Raisman said last week, according to the newspaper. “This is my frustration of she’s still working there, and we need to understand what she did or didn’t do, because her and Steve Penny were fully aware of what’s going on. I mean, she’s still there.”

More than 300 women and girls have said they were sexually abused by Nassar. Michigan State said Wednesday it reached a $500 million settlement with 332 survivors.

Perry is scheduled to testify at a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing Wednesday on sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic community. Acting U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Susanne Lyons and leaders of USA Swimming, USA Volleyball and USA Taekwondo are also scheduled to testify.

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MORE: Michigan State reaches $500M settlement with Nassar survivors

Adam Rippon’s Olympic medal is stained

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Olympians and Paralympians lose medals. They ding and dent them. Even melt them. Then there’s the unique case of figure skater Adam Rippon.

“Mine actually has barbecue sauce on it,” Rippon told Variety of his PyeongChang team event bronze medal, “because I did an interview, and somebody was cooking at the same time, and they’re like, ‘Come over here.’ I went over there, and I have, like, barbecue sauce on it.”

It may have occurred in PyeongChang, where Rippon appeared on a TODAY cooking segment and ate Korean fried chicken.

Rippon told the story while sitting next to Olympic champion Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who rightly asked if the stain was not on the medal, but on the ribbon.

“No, on the medal part,” Rippon answered, “but it’s in a groove. It’s stuck there forever.”

Shaun White‘s mom once took his medal to a dry cleaners. A Florida jeweler has repaired Summer and Winter Olympic medals. Rippon has the option of getting his finely cleaned.

“You know what, I’m going to keep it there,” he said.

“It adds character,” Shiffrin said.

“And flavor,” Rippon said. “It’s barbecue flavored.”

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Alex Naddour, Olympic bronze medalist, banned by USA Gymnastics

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Alex Naddour, the 2016 Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist, has been banned by USA Gymnastics.

Naddour’s suspension was on grounds relating to two USA Gymnastics bylaws, including one regarding allegations of sexual misconduct and the other on interim measures before complaints are resolved, but neither the gymnast nor USA Gymnastics said why he was suspended.

According to his Twitter, Naddour was trying to contact the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which responds to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

“I have no idea what is happening or why, we are trying to contact safe sport for any information,” was tweeted from Naddour’s account Wednesday night. Naddour did not return messages seeking comment.

“USA Gymnastics cannot comment publicly on membership matters unless an action taken involves a public result, such as being placed on the list of individuals whose membership is suspended or who is permanently ineligible for membership,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “The U.S. Center for SafeSport has the exclusive authority to handle sexual misconduct matters for the entire U.S. Olympic movement (including gymnastics).”

Naddour, 27, also competed at the last five world championships, in addition to being an alternate for the 2012 Olympic team. He is married to two-time 2003 World champion Hollie Vise, and they have two children.

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MORE: Ex-USA Gymnastics CEO refuses to answer questions on sex abuse scandal