Press release via USA Gymnastics.
INDIANAPOLIS,July 13, 2018– USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry today announced five members of the organization’s newly created Athlete Task Force: Shenea Booth, acrobatic gymnastics; Ivana Hong, women’s gymnastics; Jazzy Kerber, rhythmic gymnastics; Steven Legendre, men’s gymnastics; and Leigh Hennessy Robson, trampoline and tumbling.
The Athlete Task Force was created to bring athletes into USA Gymnastics’ decision-making process in determining the path forward for the organization. Task Force members will be involved in the search for a permanent high-performance training facility; key athlete-focused initiatives for the organization; an athlete mentoring program; educational initiatives for safe sport; the concept of an ombudsman for USA Gymnastics athletes; and increasing involvement of former national team members and energizing the alumni network.
“USA Gymnastics appreciates the dedication these five incredible ambassadors bring to the sport, both for their history of competing in gymnastics and now for serving on our Athlete Task Force,” said Perry, who joined USA Gymnastics in December 2017. “Athletes are the heart and soul of our organization, and the Task Force will provide important perspective and guidance for making informed decisions and transforming our culture to one of empowerment, especially for athletes. Our athletes’ voices are important for our strategic planning and initiatives, and the Task Force will participate not only in our projects, like identifying a permanent high-performance training facility, but also bringing forth ideas and proposals that are important to them.”
The Athlete Task Force is a voluntary opportunity for up to nine former athletes, including the athlete directors on the Board of Directors for men’s and women’s gymnastics and one former elite athlete per competitive discipline with relevant work experience. Members commit to serving one year, with the option of a second term. The Task Force will complement the efforts of the Athletes’ Council, which is already heavily tasked with serving on the Board of Directors and its standing committees, as well as attending national team training camps and addressing the concerns of current athletes.
“My sole purpose in participating in the Athlete Task Force is to provide insight from a victim and survivor’s perspective. I believe the athletes deserve an independent voice that speaks on their behalf, and that this should be maintained at all costs moving forward in order to assure athlete safety and the equitable treatment to which they are entitled.” – Shenea Booth
“As the Athlete Task Force, we have the opportunity and responsibility to help bring input and feedback in the best interest of our athletes and to help ensure their needs are met. Every decision and project will provide the potential to strengthen and support our current athletes, both those who continue to represent our country with such grace and integrity despite the challenges we've faced and those who participate at every level, from recreation through Junior Olympics.” – Ivana Hong
“I want to contribute to changes and initiatives within USA Gymnastics that make gymnastics a positive force in the lives of other young athletes. I gained so much from my time as an athlete, and I believe that with an increased focus on health, safety and a positive culture, USA Gymnastics can help many people find the benefits of sport I experienced and enjoyed.” – Jazzy Kerber
“Through the Task Force, my goal is to streamline communication between the athletes and the senior staff at USA Gymnastics to make their voices be heard loud and clear during important decisions that will impact them directly. My goal from day one as a Board athlete representative is to be a strong advocate for our athletes and help them get the things they need to be safe and successful during their gymnastics careers.” – Steven Legendre
“The need for change hit the gymnastics community hard last year, creating a powerful moment with tremendous expectations and opportunities. The potential the Athlete Task Force can bring to USA Gymnastics is exciting. We have a chance to make an impact, helping USA Gymnastics to drive a new, modern vision for the gymnastics community.” – Leigh Hennessy Robson
“The Athlete Task Force extends the opportunity for us to maximize athlete involvement in making USA Gymnastics stronger, safer and more empowered,” said Perry. “I believe the Task Force will be instrumental in keeping our focus on promoting the highest standards of care for our athletes and members, impactful educational opportunities, and a positive, safe environment for our current and future athletes to thrive, compete and achieve their gymnastics dreams.”