Tom Forster Named USA Gymnastics High-Performance Team Coordinator

10486.jpg

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

USA Gymnastics president and CEO Kerry Perry announced the hiring of Tom Forster as the new high-performance team coordinator for the women's program, effective July 1. In a press conference this afternoon, Perry and Forster spoke to his new role and vision for the program.

"I am humbled and excited to accept the position of the high-performance team coordinator for women’s gymnastics,” Forster said. “The responsibility of motivating and guiding our current and future elite athletes, and their coaches, is not one I take lightly. Team USA’s continued success in international competition is amazing, but I think the heart and dedication shown by every athlete and coach is more impressive than the medal count."

Forster has been on the USA Gymnastics women's national staff since 2010, is the coach and owner of Aerials Gymnastics (also known as Colorado Aerials) in Colorado Springs, and became the interim elite development program director in February 2018. Forster has coached athletes at many international competitions including the World Championships ('95, '96, '01), Pan American Games ('95, '01), and the Olympic Trials ('96).


Forster's Vision and Immediate Changes


“I believe in coaching through inspiration not intimidation,” Forster said. “As the coordinator, my vision is to create an inclusive and collaborative environment for the athletes, coaches, judges, and administration to grow, succeed, and move forward in a positive direction. I am committed to making every athlete and coach feel valued, heard, and supported."

In the press conference, Forster spoke to the atmosphere he hopes to create on the national team. 

"The atmosphere is going to be about open communication and the athletes have to feel supported and that they have the right to speak about issues and concerns that they have," Forster said. "And they would know that by voicing that there will be no retaliation."

Forster also spoke about bringing an environment of learning to the training camps.

“The primary difference is my role has always been more of education as opposed to selection, and I think that’s what I’m going to bring to the position,” Forster said. "That’s one of the things that makes gymnastics exciting — is that you can still learn things. Sometimes in the past it’s felt like athletes don’t get that opportunity and just are just stuck doing the same things over and over again. So the challenge is to get rid of that feeling and make it exciting and fun."

One change Forster looks to implement is a way for gymnasts to express concerns, and Forster said his goal is to make this available right off the bat.

"I want to create an avenue for athletes to anonymously complain about concerns or anything they have, be it about me or anything going on, so that they truly feel heard. I’ll express that to them at every one of the training camps and every selection camp. That their voice matters and they have the right to speak up."

When asked how he might measure his success in the future, specifically in 2020, the year of the next Olympics, Forster said he hopes to see more athletes participating in the Olympic Trials.

"The whole purpose of the coordinator’s job, and the national staff, is simply to support [the athletes] in their quest and for their dream," Forster said. "That’s the goal — that’s our sole purpose — is to support them, and I’m going to communicate that every opportunity I have."

Responsibilities in the Role

The high-performance team coordinator replaces the position of national team coordinator in the women’s artistic program, which was previously held by Valeri Liukin from 2016 to 2018 and Martha Karolyi from 2001 to 2016. 

Responsibilities in this role include developing the strategic plan and training program for all women’s national team members, including conducting national team training camps to determine athlete readiness and compliance with the established training program; leading team meetings; attending and providing leadership at national and international competitions as needed; overseeing international competition assignments for athletes, coaches, and judges; coordinating scheduling and activities for the developmental program and the Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs); and working with the national coaching staff.

Perry and the Selection Process

Perry said that USA Gymnastics involved athletes and coaches in the hiring process for this position. 

“Because this is such an important role for our national teams, we spoke with one former and two current national team members and three current elite coaches, who collected interview questions from national team athletes and coaches. The coaches’ and athletes’ questions were included in the interview process. The feedback and thoughts from the elite athletes and coaches were incorporated into the review and selection process. Following the interviews, we spoke with the elite athletes and coaches about the candidates to hear their perspectives. Based on the feedback from the coaches, athletes and interviewing panel, Tom was the obvious choice.

"Tom is well-respected and recognized throughout the community as a leader, both technically and as an incredible motivator, with a positive coaching philosophy,” Perry said. "He has demonstrated his commitment to a positive environment during his years as a coach and club owner and most recently as the elite development coordinator for women’s gymnastics. Through serving on the developmental program staff, Tom has worked with most of the current national team athletes and coaches. Tom’s coaching philosophy mirrors our priorities of athlete safety and well-being and promoting a positive, safe and empowering environment for our athletes to train and thrive in pursuit of their gymnastics dreams.

"As we have reorganized, we're looking at what leadership, just like the case of Tom, will continue to move this organization forward," Perry said.

USA Gymnastics press release.

Leanne Wong Shoots For Big Goals In 2021 and Beyond

Leanne Wong

After a disappointing end to her most recent competition season, the 2020 Coronavirus meet cancellations were even more shocking for Leanne Wong, who was left with something to prove. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

USAG Sending Six Athletes To Nov. 8 Friendship & Solidarity Competition

USA Gymnastics, Friendship & Solidarity

INDIANAPOLIS, October 14, 2020 – Six U.S. athletes will join delegations from China, Japan and Russia for an international friendly competition Nov. 8 in Tokyo, Japan. The one-day Friendship and Solidarity Competition will feature two teams – Team Friendship and Team Solidarity – which will be comprised of a mixture of artistic gymnasts from the participating nations.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

William & Mary Reinstate Women's Gymnastics, Swimming, & Volleyball

William & Mary Gymnastics

On Sept. 3, 2020, William & Mary announced the decision to discontinue seven of its 23 NCAA Division I varsity sports — Men's and Women's Gymnastics, Men's and Women's Swimming, Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field, and Women's Volleyball — effective with the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The plan prepared by the Department of Athletics implemented discontinuations to address structural budget deficits exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to begin remedying long-standing gender equity imbalances inconsistent with the requirements of Title IX.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

12 Things Chellsie Memmel Does In A Day That Most Elite Gymnasts Don't

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Chellsie Memmel is just like any other elite gymnast working for a spot on the 2021 Tokyo Olympic team...oh, except that she’s 32, married with two kids, coming back out of retirement after eight years off...and a few other differences. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

25 Favorite Practice Leos: VOTE For Your Top Picks!

SB-1.jpg

GK Elite, Alpha Factor, Snowflake Designs, TumbleWear… these are just a few well-known gymnastics leo brands across the US. Leotard designs have the power to express so many things! Whether it be a classic leo or a statement leo, if you look good on comp day, you feel good. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Air Force Women's Gymnastics Announces Freshmen Class

Get The FloSports App

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – The Falcon women's gymnastics team has announced the addition of six freshmen to the roster for the 2021 campaign. The newcomers will join 15 returners from the previous season.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

William & Mary Are The Latest School To Cut Their Gymnastics Teams

Katie Waldman, bars

This year is a disappointing time for all sports fans, and gymnastics fans are no exception. After months of canceled meets, pushing back the Olympics, and training centers on lockdown, the latest 2020 gymnastics disappointment is multiple NCAA programs cutting their gymnastics teams. William & Mary cut both their men’s and women’s gymnastics teams in early September, just the latest of many announcements this year about cutting teams. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Rutgers Gymnastics Announces 12 Newcomers

Myra Daniels

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Head Coach Umme Salim-Beasley announced the addition of 12 newcomers to the Rutgers gymnastics program in 2020-21. The newest Scarlet Knights include Avery Balser, Myra Daniels, Kylie Haffner, Rees Hagler, Jordan Halcom, Emily Leese, Calah Newman, Jaidyn Raby, Kieran Ross, Christiana Thompson, Emily Wood, and Stephanie Zannella.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

How You Can Help Save Collegiate Gymnastics Programs

Bennet Huang, Iowa Gymnastics

With universities across the country facing budget cuts, college gymnastics programs are being eliminated or are on the brink of being cut. College gymnastics needs your help and support more than ever. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

USA Gymnastics Announces October 7 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Panel

USA Gymnastics DEIB

INDIANAPOLIS, September 28, 2020 – USA Gymnastics today announced the line-up for the first of three fall 2020 panels focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and bias in gymnastics. Panelists will discuss their experiences and insights, share their suggestions for the sport, and provide advice for community members who are hoping to create a more inclusive and equitable culture within gymnastics.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In