USA Gymnastics Chair Karen Golz called the USOC's move to decertify the NGB "unsettling and upsetting, especially for athletes, coaches and club owners" in her first public response to the Nov. 5 announcement by new USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland. Golz did not say if USAG would challenge the decertification, but she did take pains to demonstrate that USAG remains the governing body in full standing. "We have a number of important questions for the USOC, and we’re seeking answers to make an informed decision on the direction for the organization," Golz said. "As you are aware, the decisions are challenging ones, and we will do our best to keep you informed as we go through this process." USAG will have a chance in front of a three-person panel to respond to Hirshland's letter if it so chooses, but the decision is ultimately the USOC BOD's. In her statement today, Golz said USAG and its search firm, Spencer Stuart, are continuing to search for a new CEO (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY). USA Today's Nancy Armour writes, "This does not sound like an organization that’s going to willingly give up its NGB status" (TWITTER.com, 11/20).
LEADING THE MOVEMENT: TEXAS MONTHLY's Michael Hardy writes if there was any doubt that Gold Medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles is "among the most powerful people in American sports," former interim USAG CEO Mary Bono’s "dramatic defenestration by tweet removed it." It has "been a fast ride to international prominence" for Biles, who before the '16 Rio Games was "largely unknown to the general public." After the Games, she was a "household name." USAG's "failure to protect its athletes" from Larry Nassar "left a moral vacuum into which Biles has stepped." When she announced her return to competition, after a post-Olympics break, Biles "blasted the idea of being forced to train once again at the Karolyi Ranch." Within days, USAG "cut ties" with former coaches Martha and Bela Karolyi, whose ranch is the "site of an ongoing criminal investigation." In November came "what might be the final blow," as the USOC "moved to end" USAG's status as the sport’s NGB. Biles was "hardly the only person who helped make that happen," but it is "hard to imagine an established institution falling so far so fast without her star power and moral stature at work" (TEXAS MONTHLY magazine, Dec. '18 issue).