As 2018 draws to a close, I want to share a few updates on some key areas on behalf of the Board of Directors. We are working hard to move USA Gymnastics forward through the process of reorganization under Chapter 11, address issues raised in the Ropes & Gray and Deborah Daniels reports, resolve the claims by the survivors, and identify a strong, well-qualified individual to lead USA Gymnastics.
Board of Directors update
The USA Gymnastics Board of Directors will have a few new faces in the coming year.
- Steven Legendre has stepped down as the men’s athlete Board director and chair of the Athletes’ Council. Steven is pursuing a career as a firefighter with the Norman, Oklahoma, Fire Department, and his classwork does not allow sufficient time to handle his Board and Athletes’ Council chair responsibilities. The athletes for men’s gymnastics will elect a replacement for Steven in the coming weeks, and the Athletes’ Council will identify a men’s athlete representative to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as choose the new Council chair. We appreciate his hard work and dedication to the organization, and we wish Steven the best of success in his new endeavors.
- Women’s gymnastics has elected Jennifer Bortz and re-elected Kittia Carpenter to the Programs Council, who will remain the women’s gymnastics director on the Board. Jennifer replaces Claudia Kretschmer, whose term expires at the end of this year.
Ropes and Gray report
Earlier this week, the law firm of Ropes & Gray issued its report based on its investigation into how the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics handled the situation stemming from the horrific acts of Larry Nassar. We are indebted to the brave women who came forward and have made our sport safer. USA Gymnastics is one of the organizations that let them down. It is clear the organization also let down our athletes, professional members and the gymnastics community as a whole.
While the Ropes & Gray report noted that USA Gymnastics has taken “many positive steps with an eye toward protecting athletes, including creating what was likely the first permanently ineligible membership list in Olympic sports,” we recognize that we need to do more to shift the culture to focus on the safety and well-being of our athletes. We will continue to implement all of the recommendations from the Deborah Daniels Report and identify further steps to address issues identified through these investigations.
As you know, USA Gymnastics has undergone a number of leadership and staffing changes over the past year with the primary goal of restoring confidence and trust in USA Gymnastics. A critical step is hiring a strong CEO who has the expertise, characteristics and leadership skills to realize this vision.
New CEO search update
Spencer Stuart and the core search committee of Board members Brent Lang, Kimberly Till, Justin Spring and Kittia Carpenter have been identifying and interviewing potential candidates for the next USA Gymnastics president and CEO. An expanded search committee has been named to work with the core team to conduct in-depth reviews of candidates who advance beyond the initial interviews.
The additional search committee members include Lois Bingham, independent Board director; Ivana Hong, athlete Board director; Claudia Kretschmer, coach and club owner; Danell Leyva, two-time Olympian and Olympic medalist; Scott Lineberry, Programs Council chair; Serena Lu, two-time rhythmic World Team member; and Kevin White, Board director for the Advisory Council.
The job description for the president and CEO position is available here.
Programs Council update
The Programs Council, which was created when the Board was restructured to 15 members (eight independent and seven gymnastics directors), has been busy over the past several months taking steps to better serve the members and share best practices across all five disciplines. Recent activities include regular communication and meetings with the Board of Directors to provide input and recommendations for meeting the membership’s needs; adopting bylaws for the Council; and participating in the search process for the new CEO, including giving input on the characteristics needed for the new president and CEO.
The following members were elected to the inaugural Programs Council by their respective programs. Scott Lineberry was elected Programs Council chair, and Lois Bingham, an independent Board director, was named to the Council as a non-voting member.
- Acrobatic gymnastics: Elena Arakelyan and Bob Meier
- Men’s gymnastics: Justin Spring and Gene Watson
- Rhythmic gymnastics: Stefanie Korepin and Anna Loescher
- Trampoline and tumbling: Scott Lineberry and Dian Nissen
- Women’s gymnastics: Kittia Carpenter and Claudia Kretschmer, who will be replaced by Jennifer Borz at the end of the year.
The Programs Council extends its thanks and appreciation to Claudia for her contributions, and the Council looks forward to doing its part to foster excellence in all areas of the sport.
In closing, we want to thank our athletes, who represent the best of our sport, and our professional members and member clubs for everything you have done and continue to do for our athletes across all disciplines and levels. Please accept our wishes for a festive holiday season and a successful new year.