Here are a few quick updates on what’s happening in USA Gymnastics.
First, we want to congratulate and recognize the athletes and coaches who continue to represent our country with dedication, passion, and integrity.
- Tomorrow the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, officially begin. Three gymnasts – Brandon Briones, men’s gymnastics; Elizabeth Kapitonova, rhythmic gymnastics; and Alyssa Oh, trampoline – are competing in the Games. Please follow the action via OlympicChannel.com. We also have members of our U.S. Trampoline and Tumbling National Team competing in the Loule (Portugal) World Cup, and the finals on Oct. 6 also will be on the Olympic Channel.
- Last weekend, members of the U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team earned berths for two individual gymnasts and the senior group for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. The USA won the team title at the Senior Pan American Championships, in Lima, and 2016 Olympian Laura Zeng won the all-around and all four event titles. Her teammates Nastasya Generalova, Lilly Mizuno and the U.S. group also won silver medals. Additionally, rhythmic gymnasts Camila Feeley, Evita Griskenas and Lennox Hopkins-Wilkins competed at the Aeon Cup in Japan, where they were fifth in the team competition, and both Evita and Lennox finished in the top eight in the senior and junior all-arounds.
- The U.S. Men’s Team for the 2018 World Championships was named at the conclusion of last week’s Selection Training Camp. This year’s team has both veterans and newcomers: Sam Mikulak, Akash Modi, Yul Moldauer, Colin Van Wicklen and Alec Yoder, with alternates Allan Bower, who is the traveling alternate, Trevor Howard and Marvin Kimble.
- The U.S. Women’s World Team will be chosen at its Selection Training Camp next week. A livestream of the competition at the camp on Oct. 11 will be carried at 3 pm ET on the USA Gymnastics YouTube Channel. Please join in watching the exciting athletes.
Second, with the new membership year in full swing, gymnastics clubs across the country are busy welcoming and teaching newcomers the enjoyment of gymnastics and helping athletes get ready for the coming competitive season. We appreciate our professional members and member clubs who focus every day on helping young people learn gymnastics and the inherent life skills at all levels, from recreational to elite. We also commend your commitment to the athletes and to providing a welcoming environment where today’s gymnasts can have fun, grow and thrive safely. We asked three club owners across the U.S. to share insights into “what’s happening in USA Gymnastics’ clubs” and they were so gracious to share thoughts on club happenings. We share these with the entire membership not to highlight an individual club or club owner, but to share with the membership happenings from clubs around the USA. Here are just a few of their thoughts, and we’d love to hear from other clubs about experiences this season. Interested gym clubs can email their thoughts to [email protected].
- Tina Ferriola from NYC Elite. NYC Elite has three Manhattan locations serving approximately 4,500 children each week, with the one goal of having them fall in love with gymnastics. The afterschool recreational and competitive programs are thriving with gymnasts ages 3 years and older at all three facilities. We implemented Wiggle Worms in spring 2018 for babies 3-9 months, which is slowly giving the toddler/preschool morning gymnastics program the boost we have been striving for and creating a love of gymnastics at a very young age. Our competitive athletes are training hard for the upcoming Junior Olympic competition season. Our team program’s main goal is continuing to bring our team together with the highest team bond and sportsmanship possible. Lastly, we are focusing on the “Power of Passion” and working with the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a training institute that offers education to our staff on the topic of child abuse and certifies our coaches to be mandated reporters. They have excellent services in helping us bring NYC Elite’s child safety policies up to “best practice” standards. I hope sharing our latest news and projects rings a familiar bell in your programs, and I wish you all the best as we head into the new school year and season within USA Gymnastics. I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors of spreading the love of gymnastics to all children within our programs. To read Tina’s entire note and offer to respond to questions or comments, click here.
- David Holcomb, Buckeye Gymnastics. Buckeye Gymnastics is enjoying a busy fall in Central Ohio. This is good news given the challenges that continue to affect USA Gymnastics. Our current gym families have supported us throughout these difficult times that have come to our beloved sport, but it was encouraging when team auditions and registrations reached an all-time high last spring. While our recreation enrollment has been softer, our competition team hours have grown significantly. Our new and still growing Xcel team will encourage us to expand the Buckeye Classic to include additional sessions at all Xcel levels. Even as we are growing our team, we are not standing still with our recreational programs. We have expanded Buckeye Warriors with an emphasis on obstacle courses that is attracting a lot of boys new to the gym. We have rededicated ourselves to the core mission of Buckeye Gymnastics: to encourage our gymnasts to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them in an environment that is safe, positive, professional and passionate. Our students, athletes and staff deserve no less, and our ongoing efforts to fulfill that mission have carried Buckeye through 36 years of building happy, healthy, smart and confident kids. To see David’s entire note, including information on Buckeye’s successful green initiatives, click here.
- David Holley, ASI Gymnastics. With gymnastics centers in Texas, ASI Gymnastics hosts 18 meets per year with an average of 350 competitors per weekend. Overwhelmingly, ASI Gymnastics markets to the beginning levels of competition, introducing young gymnasts to the joys of performing in front of family, coaches, judges, and other gymnasts. Overcoming the fears of competition while falling in love with the sport of gymnastics is the goal for the hundreds of gymnasts competing in girls, boys, and acro meets each year. We have competitors at every level, but our favorites are the level one and two teams. Often the entire family comes to watch their little girl all dressed up, performing her beam routine. It is a joy to watch!
Third, I wanted to be sure the membership knew of the decision by the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) to cease its gymnastics program after the 2018-2019 season. USA Gymnastics has been in contact with the University of Illinois-Chicago to see how we can help, and they have asked us to help by letting the membership and gymnastics community know about an upcoming letter campaign to send the university’s leadership letters for delivery on Oct. 15. The Committee to Preserve UIC Gymnastics’ official request is available on our website. Competing on the collegiate level is a dream for many of USA Gymnastics’ athletes, and we hope the community will help UIC to #flipthedecision so its gymnastics program can continue after this season.
Fourth, Board members Kathryn Carson and Stefanie Korepin attended the recent United States Olympic Committee Assembly in Colorado Springs, Colo., as we previously informed you. They attended the National Governing Bodies Council meeting, which featured presentations from USOC leadership on athlete safety initiatives, high performance program updates, and NGB services. Other presenters included NBC Sports, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and U.S. Department of State – Office of Sports Diplomacy. The U.S. Center for SafeSport also presented an update on its efforts and the challenges it has faced in the last year. The NGB Council unanimously voted to increase the collective NGB contribution to the Center from $1 million to $2 million.
Stefanie and Kathryn reported they received a supportive welcome from fellow NGB leaders, USOC staff, and USOC board members. Conversations with Olympic gymnasts and others on the Athlete Advisory Council and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Alumni Board were particularly enlightening, and we look forward to continued engagement with our Olympic alumni. Stefanie and Kathryn also visited the Men’s World Team Selection Camp which took place at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. They were excited to meet many of the athletes and coaches and impressed by the men’s high-level of preparation and focus for the Worlds in Doha later this month.
Finally, a brief update from Brent Lang, chair of the Search Committee, on the CEO search.
- USA Gymnastics’ search committee has selected Spencer Stuart, an internationally respected search firm, to assist in the identification, evaluation and hiring of a new CEO. The committee evaluated four firms.
- The core search committee includes the following members: Brent Lang (Search Committee chair, independent board member); Kittia Carpenter (coach, membership board director, Programs Council member); Justin Spring (coach, Olympian, membership board director); and Kimberly Till (independent board member).
- A broader committee, with representation from key stakeholder groups, will be convened to review the finalists before making a recommendation to the board.
- The committee, with the assistance of Spencer Stuart, will reach out to members and other key stakeholders to gather input on the key criteria for the new CEO.
- The job specifications will be posted to the USA Gymnastics website when it is complete.
- Interested individuals can send their materials directly to Spencer Stuart for a confidential review at [email protected].
Our athletes are the heart and soul of our organization, and our coaches, professional members and clubs are the backbone and foundation. We are doing everything we can to promote a safe, positive and encouraging environment for athletes and our professional members to pursue their gymnastics dreams at every level.
USA Gymnastics Board of Directors