One year ago, more than 150 courageous women made gymnastics, and all sports, safer by sharing their stories and the personal impact of Larry Nassar’s despicable crimes. We deeply regret the horrific acts that hurt so many of our athletes. We will never forget and are forever grateful for their bravery in coming forward.
A lot has changed in the last year. We are working every day to bring about the cultural and organizational transformation necessary to ensure that athlete safety and well-being remain at the heart of our mission.
- This month, we welcome Justin Toman, head of sports marketing and partnerships for Pepsico North America Beverages, as a new independent director on the Board of Directors. Justin brings a great combination of business and gymnastics knowledge. He received a Sports Business Journal’s 2018 Power Player/Brand Builder Award and in 2017 was named one of the “40 Under 40” in sports business. Justin competed for the University of Michigan and was a three-time National Collegiate Athletic Association national champion and a five-time NCAA All-American. He also won the 2002 Big 10 Medal of Honor and the 2002 Nissen-Emery Award. Justin was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1998-2002.
- The Athletes’ Council and the men’s Board representatives are working to identify the replacement for Steven Legendre, who stepped down from the Board late last year.
- We have made executive leadership changes, and we are close to hiring a new president and CEO. We are actively recruiting for several other top-level positions, including a permanent chief legal officer, chief programs officer and director of sports medicine. We will continue to update you on our progress toward filling those positions.
- The Chapter 11 process will allow us to reach resolution with the survivors in a fair and expeditious manner, while allowing us to continue to our work to support gymnastics at all levels.
- We continue to implement the recommendations from the Deborah Daniels report. We have further strengthened our safe sport policies and bylaws — including provisions on mandatory reporting — to establish greater accountability and make reporting easier. Additionally, we have expanded our Safe Sport Department, including hiring a child advocate to oversee safe-sport education and training. The updated Safe Sport Policy is being finalized, which is an important piece for further completion of the Daniels report recommendations.
Athletes across all disciplines and levels are training for the upcoming season, and we wish success to all of this year’s competitors. We want to congratulate the gymnasts who earned medals in international competition at the end of last year: Ruben Padilla and Kristle Lowell, who won double mini-trampoline silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2018 World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships, as well as the nine gymnasts who won medals at the World Age Group Competitions; Ciel Arzandyan, who won two event bronze medals at the Luxembourg Cup; and Jade Carey, who won the vault silver at the Turnier de Meister World. Simone Biles ended 2018 with ESPN the Magazine deeming her the most dominant athlete for the year.
We know we have more work to do, and we are committed to taking the needed steps toward fostering a positive, encouraging and safe environment where all of our members are comfortable in speaking up and have the opportunity to thrive and follow their gymnastics dreams.