USA Gymnastics Confident It Can Retain NGB Status Moving Forward
Despite USA Gymnastics being "given the death penalty" by the USOPC last year, the NGB has since "acted like an organization confident its sentence would be commuted," according to Louise Radnofsky of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. This past weekend's national championships in K.C. saw "record attendance and revenue," while welcoming Int'l Gymnastics Federation President Morinari Watanabe "as a special guest." USAG has said that it is "probably about to go out and start speaking again with potential sponsors." It has been eight months since USAG announced it was "entering bankruptcy," which secured a reprieve for the organization, "because the decertification process was stayed as part of the chapter 11 proceedings." USAG "believes it can extend that reprieve" not just through the '20 Tokyo Games, but "indefinitely." USAG President & CEO Li Li Leung said, "We continue to communicate with the USOPC in terms of the steps that we need to take to demonstrate why we should remain the NGB of gymnastics." However, Radnofsky notes the "bureaucratic machinations that bought time for USA Gymnastics are not the only factor in its endurance." Another one is "doubt about who would be willing to step in its place," since "few other organizations on a scale of USA Gymnastics exist" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13).
WAITING GAME: In N.Y., Danielle Allentuck writes USAG "remains a body in turmoil, cycling through leaders and still struggling to emerge from the looming shadow" of the Larry Nassar scandal. The federation has "hired three chief executives in the last two years." Leung has said that she "hoped to bring stability to the governing body." The organization "currently has no sponsors, with the exception of the gymnastics apparel company GK." Leung said that "no new partnerships would be sought until USA Gymnastics had its house in order." Leung has "made it a point to be present and out in the open, doing her part." She was "out on the competition floor hugging and cheering the athletes over the weekend, and she said she had spoken with more than 400 athletes, coaches and gymnastics club owners during her five-month tenure." She said, "We are starting to rebuild trust in our community in terms of taking part in our events" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/13). ESPN.com's Michelle Voepel wrote there is "still a lot of cleaning up and healing to do, a reputation to be restored and trust to be re-established." This is a "very long-term rebuild" for USAG (ESPN.com, 8/9).