To the members of USA Gymnastics and the gymnastics community:
The arrival of August brings many things, from the realization that summer is drawing to a close to the anticipation for the beginning of a new membership season to attending the National Congress to watching our country’s best vie for men’s and women’s U.S. titles and national team berths at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
This summer has been a busy one for the gymnastics community. The USA qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in men’s and rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline. The U.S. men and women won the all-around titles at the Junior Pan American Championships, securing a spot for the Youth Olympic Games and qualifying a full team for the 2019 Junior World Championships. At the USA Gymnastics Championships, Elizabeth Kapitonova and Alyssa Oh earned trips to the Youth Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline, respectively. Laura Zeng became the first rhythmic gymnast since 1979 to win four-consecutive senior all-around titles, and Jeffrey Gluckstein won his second straight and fifth overall U.S. men’s trampoline title. In acrobatic gymnastics, Emily Davis and Aubrey Rosilier successfully defended their women’s pair title. The USA Gymnastics Championships were a success, and junior and senior elite, as well as Junior Olympic, champions were determined in acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. Congratulations to all of the athletes who have competed this summer in international competitions, championships and qualifying events.
This year’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston is generating a lot of excitement with Simone Biles’ comeback, the upgrades to routines for both men and women, and the opportunity to see World all-around champion Morgan Hurd, World silver medalist Jade Carey, 2017 U.S. all-around champion Ragan Smith, World floor exercise bronze medalist and defending U.S. all-around champion Yul Moldauer, and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak. The Youth Olympian for men’s gymnastics will also be determined in Boston.
Off of the field of play, this summer has brought a transition in the volunteer leadership of our organization. A new, 15-person Board of Directors was announced in late June and attended its first meeting in early July. Most of 2018 has been and will continue to be focused on transforming our organization to one that has athlete safety and well-being as its priority, while also promoting a safe, positive and empowering environment for all members.
Last month, we provided a progress update on the status of the recommendations made in the Deborah Daniels report that reviewed and evaluated existing safe sport efforts and procedures for handling misconduct. At this time, 86 percent of the recommendations have been implemented or are in progress.
USA Gymnastics has and will continue to go through many changes that reflect our commitment to athlete safety. Some of those changes include reviewing and modifying our bylaws, policies and procedures. We understand that change, especially when the changes are transformational in every aspect of the organization, could cause our members, including our club owners, to feel uneasy and uncertain about how those changes affect them. We have taken the concerns of our members and clubs to heart. The USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy is now undergoing a thorough evaluation and review by a Safe Sport Committee that represents the voices of member clubs, professionals and athletes. We are specifically paying special attention to the proactive policies, including those regarding one-on-one interaction, electronic and social media communication, photography and videography, and travel. Our goal is that, through the continued engagement and input from our Safe Sport Committee members, the Safe Sport Policy will be reflective of not only our highest priority of creating a safe environment for our athletes, but also one that incorporates the realities and concerns of our professional membership. This will continue to be a process that USA Gymnastics undertakes with future revisions to the Safe Sport Policy.
While our athletes are the heart and soul of USA Gymnastics, our coaches, gym clubs, judges and administrators provide the foundation for our gymnasts to thrive and succeed. We are committed to ensuring that we focus on doing the right thing, having the right people involved in our efforts, and making sure our structure, policies and procedures reflect our commitment to become a stronger, more empowered organization for all members moving forward.
I look forward to seeing many of you in Providence at the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show and/or in Boston at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
President and CEO