By Liam Morgan |
USA Gymnastics President and chief executive Kerry Perry has been forced to resign after just nine months in the role following criticism over her handling of the response to the Larry Nassar scandal.
California-based newspaper the Orange Country Register cited two sources close to the national governing body, who confirmed her departure with immediate effect in a statement today.
“USA Gymnastics President and chief executive Kerry Perry last evening informed the Board of Directors that she will resign effectively immediately,” the statement read.
“The board has immediately begun to identify an interim chief executive and is in the process of establishing a search committee to find a permanent replacement.”
A Management Committee has been established to oversee the running of the organisation on a day-to-day basis until an interim chief executive is appointed.
Perry’s resignation comes just three days after new United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chief executive Sarah Hirshland called for changes in the leadership of USA Gymnastics.
USA Gymnastics board chairperson Karen Golz claimed the organisation had made progress despite the issues surrounding the governing body.
“On behalf of the board of USA Gymnastics, I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances,” said Golz.
“In the wake of horrific events that have impacted our athletes and the entire gymnastics community, USA Gymnastics has made progress in stabilising itself and setting a new path to ensure that the safety and interests of our athletes remains at the heart of our mission.”
Hirshland’s comments seemingly made it inevitable that Perry, hired to replace Steve Penny – who was also pressured to resign amid the sexual abuse scandal – would leave the organisation.
They came after after another troubling week for USA Gymnastics after the body appointed Mary Lee Tracy as elite development coordinator for the women’s programme.
Aly Raisman, a triple Olympic champion, slammed the move and said Tracy was someone who, in her view, had “supported Larry Nassar and victim-shamed survivors”.
Raisman is one of dozens of women who have documented abuse at the hands of Nassar, a disgraced former team doctor given an effective life sentence after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges and state charges of sexual abuse, and Tracy has since been ousted from her role after trying to contact the gymnast.
Perry has been widely criticized since she took over last December for her failure to reach out to the survivors of Nassar’s abuse.
She has also maintained a low profile, rarely commenting or speaking publicly about the embattled national governing body.
A month after Perry began her role, the USOC demanded the resignation of the entire USA Gymnastics Board following the fall-out to the scandal.
She was later criticized at a Congressional hearing into the responses of the USOC and USA Gymnastics.
American star Simone Biles, among the more than 350 women who said Nassar abused them, claimed it was “hard to know” whether the organisation were taking steps in the right direction as Perry had not spoken up.
A number of women are also currently involved in a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics.
“Over the past nine months, USA Gymnastics has been in the midst of a major transition as it implements recommendations made by Deborah Daniels in her report, following her independent review of the organisation’s safe sport policies and procedures, as well as directives of the USOC,” added Golz.
“These changes have included amending the organisation’s by-laws and the appointment of an entirely new board of directors, made up of eight independent members and seven from within the gymnastics community.
“Most importantly, USA Gymnastics has been focused on athlete safety and well-being and ensuring that programs and protocols are in place to prevent all forms of abuse and to encourage athletes to speak up.
“This process has been challenging, and painful, but is a necessary step in moving the community forward.”
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.