Marta’s letter to the Senate subcommittee

… My second recommendation is the implementation of USA Gymnastics-assigned chaperones.

Each gymnast should have a chaperone present with them at the national training camps and competitions.

While each gymnast was required to travel with their personal coach to the national training camps, a neutral chaperone, responsible solely for the safety and wellbeing of each gymnast, would help create a safe space for gymnasts to voice concerns outside of their athletic training.

This chaperone should also be required to accompany each gymnast on any medical treatments or sessions, whether formal or informal. A gymnast should never be alone with another adult who is not her parent without her chaperone …

read more – Karolyi letter to Senate

1. This letter was obviously written by lawyers

2. Marta was the last person at Camp who would have wanted chaperones attending

Secrecy and lack of transparency were a big part of the old Romanian system. It’s something Marta continued at her remote Camp.

(via BBS)

U.S. Men’s National Team Camp

Unlike the women’s last camp, the men are working well.

Colin Van Wicklen:

Intensity is the word to describe this camp. Guys were training so hard, throwing new skills, and were extremely focused.

This was by far the best National team camp I have ever been too. It was extremely motivating to look around the gym and see everyone working hard, pushing upgrades while still focusing on execution. Even the national team basics were taken extremely seriously.

Besides training we also had time to talk about our goals and how we will reach them for World Championships and the Olympic Games in 2020. …

Gymnasticsville

what is Kerry Perry thinking?

… Thursday, Perry pushed out the vice president of the women’s program, Rhonda Faehn, who was heading a national team training camp in Crossville, Tenn., at the time. Athletes complained about her forced departure on social media posts, and the remainder of the camp was canceled.

By Friday, Perry was announcing a restructuring of the organization at the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis, with at least nine layoffs, including Faehn, the head of the organization’s nascent athlete protection program, and seven other employees. …

She told staff in a two-minute meeting that the cuts were necessary because “our organization is facing a great deal of pressure on many fronts” and “to better adapt to the current climate, restructuring was necessary.”

Faehn said in an email that athletes’ welfare had been her “absolute top priority.” She added: “I did not resign as I did not feel that suddenly abandoning the national team athletes was in the best interest of their safety or emotional well being.” …

On Monday, Perry apologized to team members and their parents for “the disruption and confusion created at last week’s” camp, adding that it was “truly unfortunate,” and said she had made USA Gymnastics’ Junior Olympic program director Annie Heffernon the interim vice president of the women’s program. …

Wall Street Journal – USA Gymnastics Is Still Struggling With Internal Upheaval

The article hints that USAG might have to declare bankruptcy if they agree to even one major settlement.

decisions need be ‘communicated, explained, and justified’

It’s called nontransparency. ☹️

With USAG not explaining themselves Spencer has the best commentary I’ve seen so far:

1) Whether or not you agree with the public majority of current national team members who say they want Rhonda to stay (honestly both camps have valid arguments here), it’s seriously a problem when those inside the national team feel so ignored, misunderstood, and shut off from the seats of power that they have to turn to social media to get the organization’s attention. …

It’s not a sign of good leadership. Decisions made, no matter how unpopular, need to be communicated, explained, and justified to those in the organization whom they affect the most. …

2) As for Rhonda, the timing here sure is weird, happening in the middle of a national team camp that she was running. At a normal organization, you would think, “Wow, she must have done something horrible, just now, that required immediate action to disrupt the only actual national team camp of the year so far and render it a completely unproductive mess.”

But it’s USAG, so our baseline assumption will be that it just reflects a compete lack of planning and awareness, and a seat-of-the-pants reactionary decision-making. Translation: it’s entirely a PR move with Kerry Perry testifying before Congress next week and needing to seem like she’s doing something. …

Because what happens now? Who’s in charge in the interim? Steve Rybacki? …

Balance Beam Situation

If USAG declares bankruptcy in the end, all this trauma to stake holders was unnecessary.

Rhonda Faehn asked to retire

Rhonda Faehn was at a national training camp in Tennessee late Thursday afternoon when she got the call from (USA Gymnastics President Kerry) Perry, who asked her to return to the organization’s headquarters in Indianapolis, the sources said. …

Faehn, who did not respond to a request for comment, decided to stay at the camp with the 22 gymnasts and their personal coaches, who were blindsided by the news, the sources said. The last two practices were canceled at the gymnasts’ request, they said.

As of early Friday, Faehn had not resigned, the sources said, and it’s unclear what will happen next. …

USA Gymnastics turmoil: Head of women’s program asked to resign

The move comes days before the organization’s president testifies before Congress.

Timing of that phone call could not have been worse. National Team members were understandably upset with the distraction.

UPDATE

“Rhonda Faehn is no longer with USA Gymnastics. This is a personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail.

We recognize that change can be difficult, but we will not be deterred from making necessary and bold decisions to transform our organization. At USA Gymnastics, we are focused every day on creating a highly empowered culture that puts our athletes first.

Over the next few weeks, we will be communicating some positive changes that reinforce our desire to have our athletes train and compete at the highest level in an empowering and safe environment.

USA Gymnastics is moving forward and positioning for the future with the commitment to our athletes’ safety and well-being at the heart of everything we do. We encourage member clubs, coaches, administrators and the gymnastics entire community to align their efforts to this important task. Together, we will create a culture of empowerment for the young men and women who are pursuing their gymnastics dreams today while honoring those who have gone before them.”

This is a breaking story. There could be even bigger announcements from USAG today.

Simone’s back at National Team Camp

The U.S. Women’s National Team Camp for May begins today at Flip Fest in Crossville, Tenn.

The camp is the first for the national team in 2018 and will be the only camp prior to the American Classic (July 6-7, site TBD), the U.S. Classic (July 28, Columbus, Ohio) and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships (Aug. 16-19, Boston).

The athletes named to the U.S. team for the Junior Pan American Championships (June 13-15, Buenos Aires, Argentina) will use the camp as a final tune-up …

Jordan Bowers of Lincoln, Neb./Solid Rock Gymnastics

Sunisa Lee of St. Paul, Minn./Twin City Twistars

Leanne Wong of Overland Park, Kan./GAGE

JaFree Scott of Independence, Mo./GAGE.

Sydney Barros of Woodstock, Ga./Texas Dreams, who was originally named to the team, has withdrawn due to injury.  …

USAG

Karolyis sue USAG, USOC

In the world’s most litigious nation, we expected this.

Bela and Martha Karolyi have filed suit against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, seeking more than a million dollars in damages and saying they should not be held responsible for any lawsuits stemming from crimes committed at their Sam Houston National Forest ranch by disgraced doctor Larry Nassar.

The suit, filed last month in Walker County, accuses USA Gymnastics of being in violation of a purchase agreement and a lease agreement at the couple’s ranch, which until last year housed the women’s national training center, and of failing to live up to a promise to “wrap their arms” around the couple and to defend them against allegations stemming from the Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Houston Chronicle

related – Sabrina Vega sued Bela and Martha Karolyi as well as USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.