USA Gymnastics named Tom Forster its new women’s national team coordinator, succeeding Valeri Liukin, who resigned in February after he replaced Martha Karolyi after the Rio Olympics.
“When considering this very visible and important leadership role in the women’s program, I believe that whoever filled this role had to have a training philosophy that is aligned with transforming to a culture of empowerment that encourages, supports and hears our athletes,” USA Gymnastics CEO and President Kerry Perry said in a press release. “Because this is such an important role for our national teams, we spoke with one former and two current national team members and three current elite coaches, who collected interview questions from national team athletes and coaches. The coaches’ and athletes’ questions were included in the interview process. The feedback and thoughts from the elite athletes and coaches were incorporated into the review and selection process. Following the interviews, we spoke with the elite athletes and coaches about the candidates to hear their perspectives. Based on the feedback from the coaches, athletes and interviewing panel, Tom was the obvious choice.”
Forster, who briefly coached Kerri Strug in the 1990s, was already working with USA Gymnastics as interim elite development program director since February and part of the elite development national staff since 2010.
He has coached at two Pan American Games and three world championships, according to USA Gymnastics.
He takes over after the revelations of Larry Nassar‘s sexual abuse crimes against gymnasts under the guise as team doctor that led to top USA Gymnastics officials either resigning or being forced out.
“I believe in coaching through inspiration not intimidation,” Forster, who owned and operated Colorado Aerials gymnastics in Colorado Springs and his gym since 1982, said in the release. “I am committed to making every athlete and coach feel valued, heard, and supported.
“Team USA’s continued success in international competition is amazing, but I think the heart and dedication shown by every athlete and coach is more impressive than the medal count.”
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