To the USA Gymnastics membership and community:
I am both thrilled and honored for the opportunity to lead USA Gymnastics as its next president and CEO. My love and passion for gymnastics dates back to when I first started in the sport at the age of 7. I know first-hand that gymnastics is a great sport, that it teaches health and life skills lessons, and that having an informed and involved coach is valuable.
As we all know, USA Gymnastics is at a critical turning point, and we now have the opportunity to look forward and to move forward. I have the experience, commitment, determination, and perspective to do what it takes to rebuild the organization and I want to help lead this transformation, to rebuild the community’s trust in and credibility of USA Gymnastics.
Like many gymnasts’ families, my family made sacrifices for the sport. My parents moved our home so my sister and I could be closer to training facilities. I trained as an elite gymnast and competed in many USA Gymnastics events. I was a member of the U.S. junior national training team and even had the opportunity to represent the USA at the 1988 Junior Pan American Games (now called the Junior Pan American Championships). I earned a four-year athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan, where we competed in both Big 10 and NCAA championships. After retiring from competition, I coached at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Participating in gymnastics taught me life skills that I use on a daily basis, including how to overcome adversity, the importance of community, grit and how to persist, discipline, teamwork and leadership skills. This is much more than a job to me; it’s a personal calling. This is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on a sport that I love and that has shaped me into who I am today. What drives me to take on this role is my desire to transform the culture and experience for our athletes and to help rid our sport of the opportunity for abuse to occur again.
I launched my career in sports management where I’ve created businesses from the ground-up, led teams, developed and implemented strategic plans, and worked and partnered with diverse groups of stakeholders. My personal experience and professional management experience give me the perspective and skills to handle this role.
My priorities when I first start are to listen and learn from current and former athletes, coaches, club owners, meet directors, judges and the entire community by traveling around the country to get to know as many people as possible. I also plan to build an experienced management team who can help create and implement a new vision for USA Gymnastics that puts athletes first. I will work to see that we reach a fair and equitable resolution with the survivors not only because it is the right thing to do, but also with the hope they will work with us to make the fundamental changes that are necessary. Finally, we need to continue to support our athletes and USA Gymnastics members at all levels throughout the country to restore trust within the community. The sport continues to grow at the grassroots level, and it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure a healthy and positive environment for everyone.
But I can’t do it alone –all of us in the community need to work together to create an environment where our gymnasts can thrive, where they can have fun, where they can feel safe, where they can be successful, where they can be themselves, and where they can have a voice.
I am looking forward to starting on March 8 and getting to know and working alongside everyone in community. I regret that I cannot start earlier and have to miss the American Cup, Nastia Liukin Cup and the Elite Team Cup in Greensboro, but I have to finish my obligations at my current position and fulfill some other outstanding commitments. If I have one ask of you, our members, it would be to judge us on our response, judge us on our actions going forward. We will learn from the past and look to the future to heal and rebuild.
Li Li Leung