In order to learn from the mistakes of the past and the mishandling of the horrific abuse perpetrated by Larry Nassar, we must listen with open hearts to Maggie’s story, and the experiences of other survivors – so that we can better understand the impact it had, and the circumstances that led to it and enabled it for too long.
Because of the bravery of Maggie and other survivors who have come forward, there have been transformational reforms across the sport. Within USA Gymnastics, under an entirely new leadership team, we have implemented stronger policies and preventative measures, launched multiple educational efforts, and made sweeping organizational, leadership and personnel changes. Most importantly, we have prioritized changing the sub-culture within our community that allowed this to happen. We owe these survivors an incredible debt of gratitude for sharing their stories, and igniting these changes across the sport.
And yet, despite these changes, we recognize that the work is not done. We must keep listening, keep evolving and keep improving – and we are committed to doing so.
Dear USA Gymnastics Members,
Over the past several weeks, we have been searching for how to respond to the gravity of events unfolding across the nation. The recent killings of unarmed Black people – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among others – have deeply affected us all, and have sparked a national conversation around the systemic racial injustice that continues to plague our country.
On June 1, we unequivocally affirmed that Black lives do matter, and that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and with all of those who fight for racial and social justice. The responses to our statement highlighted two key issues we would like to address:
First, some in the gymnastics community think that we, as an organization, should not talk about racism and injustice, either because of the nature of our organization’s purpose or because of our historical failure to protect athletes from abuse. While we understand this concern, and know that we must continue our mission to strengthen protections for athletes, we respectfully disagree.
As a national sports federation, we believe we have a responsibility to use our platform to stand for what we value most. We deeply value the diversity in our community, and strive to create an environment that is more welcoming and inclusive. We need to embrace discussion of sensitive topics in order to do that.
Additionally, we fully recognize that this organization has failed our athletes and the gymnastics community, and it will take more time – and much change – for us to earn your trust. We are working to make that change happen, and to prove to you that we are committed to transforming this organization. We have new leaders, new staff, new policies, and new priorities – which include a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, in addition to our renewed dedication to athlete safety. Taking a stand against injustice is part of those commitments, and requires that we lend our collective voice to be part of the demand for change. So, while this stance is different than what you might expect from the USA Gymnastics of years ago, we think that is a good thing.
Secondly, some have said that our statement of solidarity is not enough, that we must do more. We agree. It is not enough.
We know that we must start with listening, particularly to our community members of color, and learning from their experiences. Over the last several weeks, we have heard many stories of overt and subtle racism within gymnastics, and the toll it can take on athletes, parents, coaches, judges, and club owners. We thank those who have shared their experiences for their vulnerability and bravery, and we encourage everyone in the gymnastics community to reflect on these stories.
We also know that the recent brutality did not occur in a vacuum; it is part of a much larger system of racism and injustice that will take all of us to dismantle. We know that to be part of the solution, we must first look inward. We must look at ourselves with a critical eye, to see how unconscious bias impacts our individual perspectives and the gymnastics community as a whole.
As part of that effort, we are taking the following actions:
These steps are just the beginning, a place to start. We are committed to continuing this work, so that we can collectively create an organization and a gymnastics community that is more respectful, empathetic, equitable and inclusive. And we ask that you, our community, join us in that effort.
Governor Scott has given approval for gymnastics clubs to open. Stay safe.
Please see below a statement from the National Office.
"With the postponement of the Olympic Games now official, there are a number of resulting impacts to our community, particularly around events that would have occurred this year, that are still unclear. We are working through contingency plans and hope to provide an update as soon as possible. But, we also know that any new plans will be tentative at best, until we have a better idea of how long this continuing pandemic will affect us.
We are in the process of exploring alternative dates for events that have been impacted by the Coronavirus and the postponement of the Tokyo Games. Specifically, we are working with the USOPC and the St. Louis Sports Commission to reschedule the Olympic Trials, once the new dates for the Olympics Games are set. We are hopeful that we will be able to hold Olympic Trials in St. Louis in 2021. We are also exploring rescheduling the 2020 GK U.S. Classic, 2020 U.S. Championships, 2020 USA Gym Champs and 2020 National Congress and Tradeshow sometime in July or August, assuming it will be safe and prudent to hold events at that time.
As you can imagine, working through the rescheduling of these events, and the details of each, is challenging and complex, so we truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this.
As soon as new information is available, we will share it with you.”
All Regional Championships have been cancelled. Vermont State Championships is also cancelled. Check with your club for entry refunds.
All regional clinics for JO and Xcel are cancelled.
All Meets have been cancelled effective immediately through the end of March. Sectional 3 is cancelled.
The Vermont State Meet has been postponed until further notice. The Bellows Falls High School has cancelled the site as an place to host. We are exploring options for all gymnasts and are waiting to hear what will happen with Regional competitions to help make our final decisions.
We will revisit the topic in a week to see what transpires and make decisions that are appropriate for everyone at that time.
We have discussed possible dates of March 28 or April 4 for Xcel Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Level 7-10.
Thanks for your support and understanding as the situation changes hourly.
We will proceed with the Sectional at Kingdom as planned on Sunday.
Sunday March 15th
Sectional 3 at Kingdom
Session 1 - NLG and Kingdom
8:30am - open stretch
8:45am - March in
10:45am - Awards
Session 2 - Sunrise, Brattleboro, Champlain Valley, Central VT
11:45am - open stretch
12pm - March in
2:30pm - Awards
Sectional 1 at Regal has a 15 minute change for Session 2 and 3
Session 2 - Open stretch now at 11:15am
Session 3 - Open stretch now at 3pm
Jill and Peter Vanderpot voted winners of the Vermont State Service Award
Regal Gymnastics Academy voted Vermont JO Club of the Year
Gail McGann is the Award winner for Vermont and Region 6
The Green Flag Award was created to honor a NAWGJ member who has made outstanding contributions to NAWGJ who also promotes professionalism and demonstrates leadership.