USA Gymnastics chief to resign over coach furore

Kerry Perry stands onstage for the medal presentation at the US Gymnastics Championships in Boston. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: USA Gymnastics chief executive Kerry Perry has been forced to step down after just nine months in charge following the latest controversy to hit the scandal-plagued organisation, US media reports said Tuesday.

The Orange County Register and USA Today cited two people with knowledge of the situation late Monday as saying that Perry’s resignation would be confirmed on Tuesday.

Perry’s reported departure comes after a tumultuous week at USA Gymnastics which saw senior coach Mary Lee Tracy ousted three days after her appointment.

USA Gymnastics called for Tracy to quit after an outcry by victims of jailed former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Victims of Nassar, who was jailed for life earlier this year for abusing more than 250 athletes – including several stars of the USA’s all-conquering Olympic team – had lambasted the decision to hire Tracy.

Tracy angered victims by comments in 2016 in which she described Nassar as “amazing” even though dozens of athletes had come forward to accuse him of abuse.

The fiasco of Tracy’s appointment to a senior coaching role and departure within a few days angered the United States Olympic Committee, which on Friday warned that changes to leadership of USA Gymnastics were inevitable.

“I’m afraid I can offer nothing but disappointment,” USOC chief executive Hirshland said.

“Under the circumstances we feel that (USA Gymnastics) is struggling to manage its obligations effectively and it is time to consider making adjustments in the leadership.

“We are engaging with the USAG board to offer our perspective, and also our assistance, as they manage the situation.”

USA Gymnastics had presided over an unprecedented period of Olympic dominance in women’s gymnastics since 2012 but failed to detect Nassar’s crimes in what became the biggest scandal in US Olympic history.

The scandal had already led to the departure of former USAG chief executive Steve Penny in March 2017.

US Olympic chiefs then demanded the entire board of directors be replaced in January while launching an independent investigation into the affair.