U.S. gymnastics head Kerry Perry resigns after nine months

Perry had only been USA Gymnastics president and CEO since December.

USA Gymnastics announced that Kerry Perry, who took over as the organisation’s president and CEO on 1 December 2017, had resigned.

The move comes just days after U.S. Olympic Committee president Sarah Hirshland strongly criticised the organisation, saying USA Gymnastics “is struggling to manage its obligations effectively and it is time to consider making adjustments in the leadership.”

Hirshland’s comments came after another scandal ridden week for USA Gymnastics.

Kerry Perry testifies during a hearing on changes made by the USOC, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Kerry Perry testifies during a hearing on changes made by the USOC, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Kerry Perry testifies during a hearing on changes made by the USOC, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

More missteps for USA Gymnastics

The organisation announced on 28 August that Mary Lee Tracy would take on the women’s developmental coordinator role.

Tracy had publicly supported disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar in late 2016, despite Nassar already facing federal child pornography charges and more than 50 women having come forward to accuse him of abusing them under the guise of medical treatment.

The hiring quickly drew criticism from around the gymnastics world, including Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman.

On 31 August, the organisation announced they had asked Tracy to resign the position, and Hirshland’s comments came later that evening.

Perry stepped down four days later.

Karen Golz, the chairwoman of USA Gymnastics' Board of Directors, announced the news in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“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.”
—Karen Golz

The way forward

That new path will be a difficult one.

USA Gymnastics and Perry have been criticised for making only reactionary moves under the latter's leadership. That includes closing the former Olympic Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch only after four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles came forward as a Nassar survivor, asking why she should be made to return to the site of her abuse.

Biles’ tweet came just days before dozens of women came forward to share their stories of abuse by Nassar in a Michigan courtroom.

That event signalled a turning point for USA Gymnastics. The Nassar scandal had finally grabbed national and worldwide headlines — mere weeks into Perry’s tenure as president and CEO.

Now, the organisation begins its search for new leadership for the second time in just 18 months.

Olympian Brent Lang will chair a search committee tasked with that search.

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