Dear Gymnastics Community,
Welcome to the conclusion of yet another eventful year for both our sport and the organization. Every year at USA Gymnastics is memorable in multiple ways, and 2022 was no different. It always begins with the support of you all – the community – for which we are grateful as we work together to improve gymnastics for every stakeholder group.
The past 12 months saw many milestones. We reached a settlement with the Survivors’ Committee and fully emerged from bankruptcy. With the conclusion of that process came recognition and certification by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee of USAG as the national governing body in good standing. We are grateful to the Survivors for working together with us to get to this point, as we all focus on serving and protecting the community to grow the sport we love in a way we can all be proud of.
Below are just a few additional highlights from an action-packed 2022.
Athlete Representation: The voices of athletes and Survivors continue to grow at USA Gymnastics. With our settlement and reorganization in place, Tasha Schwikert Moser joined the board as the Survivors’ representative. Survivors also took seats on the Safe Sport Committee and Athlete Health and Wellness Council. Another athlete seat also was added to our board, which is now occupied by Athletes Council chair Jessica Renteria.
Safety: The work that USA Gymnastics has done on athlete safety is beginning to have an impact both nationally and internationally. I was honored to be a presenter at the inaugural "Our Safe Sport Journey" symposium, held in conjunction with the FIG Artistic World Championships in Liverpool this fall. It was clear from the response to the presentation that we are being seen as global leaders in this space, with others looking to learn from us.
On the domestic front, we have been working hard to increase the efficiency of our handling of cases of emotional and physical abuse, with typical resolution times under two months – a significant improvement over 2021.
Programs: Athletes and coaches saw increased support and representation in our Programs as well. An expanded funding structure for National Team athletes brought greater equity across disciplines and genders, and we were thrilled to introduce a groundbreaking program to help provide mental health visits throughout the year to athletes and coaches, thanks in part to the support of GK Elite.
I could spend much more time talking about all the great competitive performances we saw in 2022. At the risk of leaving out any highlights, it is safe to say that we saw historic performances by American athletes on the international level, from World Cup events to World Championships and The World Games, in all disciplines. We also took part in the first-ever FIG World Championships in Parkour. It is exciting to see a non-traditional discipline help further grow our sport. On the grassroots level, hosting thousands of young athletes at our Development Program Nationals and at hundreds of State and Regional events across all disciplines gave us a promising look at the future of the sport. We were thrilled to be able to watch everyone compete, and celebrate, in person.
Partners: In the past year, corporate America began to once again see value in the organization, thanks to the hard work of everyone in the sport. In addition to renewing our longstanding partnerships with GK and A1 Awards, we welcomed OOFOS as the title partner for the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, marking the first time since 2017 that the event has had a title partner. Ozone and Turn also stepped up to sponsor the 2022 Winter Cup, and regional companies supported our camps and sports medicine programs.
Community: As always, at the end of the day, it is the community as a whole who are the backbone of the sport and whom we serve. It was heartening to see more than 2,000 attendees and presenters at the 2022 National Congress, where we unveiled our new visual brand identity at the opening reception.
With competitions and Congress back to normal, the post-pandemic focus on strengthening our day-to-day business carried over to membership and clubs.
All clubs now have a Member Club Best Practices Toolkit resource to help meet their needs as businesses, bringing to fruition a years-long goal of ours to provide as much information as possible to help our clubs operate efficiently. We understand that operating a club is challenging, and continuing to support clubs is critical to keeping the foundation of our sport strong.
Culture: Since I became President & CEO in 2019, I have spoken consistently about culture change being the key to the long-term viability of the sport. In 2021, we distributed a "culture survey" to 150,000 members. We sent out another survey in 2022 and saw our response rate increase sevenfold. It was exciting to see so many people willing to engage and provide feedback, which helps show us what we are doing well, but more importantly where we can improve. We are so pleased that 95% of respondents support our mission and are gratified that nearly 90% agree with the statement, "Of the athletes I know, they feel physically safe."
We also surveyed National Team athletes in all disciplines to gauge our progress in supporting their health and wellness. One of the biggest takeaways from the survey was that 73% of athletes agree "there is an avenue for them to freely express their ideas for change" – which demonstrates an 11% lift over 2021.
As I look back on the past year, I am filled with so much gratitude for this community, so much awe at how far we have come, and so much inspiration for what we have yet to accomplish. A comment from a survey response best captures how I feel about 2022, and what awaits us in 2023 and beyond:
I feel everything is moving in the right direction, we are just not there fully yet.
More than ever, I am optimistic that we will get there – together.
With warm holiday regards and heartfelt thanks,