2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Kerry Perry Addresses Media At 2018 U.S Gymnastics Championships

Kerry Perry Addresses Media At 2018 U.S Gymnastics Championships

Following the junior competition of the 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Kerry Perry sat down with media

Aug 19, 2018 by Justine Kelly
Kerry Perry Addresses Media At 2018 U.S Gymnastics Championships

For the second time since taking the helm of USA Gymnastics, Kerry Perry sat down with media to read a statement about USA Gymnastics’ current initiatives and answer a number of questions, including several pertaining to her communication with Simone Biles, Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross. The first time she spoke to a group of media was off the record at the 2018 GK U.S. Classic.

Her statement mentioned several things that USA Gymnastics is working on, including entering the second phase of identifying a permanent high performance training center and hiring Tom Forester as the new High Performance Team Coordinator. She mentioned the creation of the athlete task force, comprised of five core members, including one survivor. She talked about expanding the Safe Sport department and “extensively” revising the current Safe Sport policy, and the creation of the athlete assistance fund. She also emphasized educating and training their staff and members on the new Safe Sport policy and how important this is to the organization moving forward. 

Of note, she stated the USA Gymnastic has implemented 86% of the recommendations in the Daniels report, and that they have and will continue to amend their bylaws for the purposes of athlete safety. 

She said they have also reorganized the board and made staff changes, although she was not able to comment when asked on whether any further turnover would take place. 

Perry emphasized that she is committed to participating in the mediation procedures and wants to resolve claims “fairly and expeditiously.” 

Questions were asked about Perry’s communication with Biles, to which Perry responded that she respects Biles’ opinion, and commented that “the kind of changes we are making can be a little scary.” She said she has had occasion to interact with Biles “a couple times” and mentioned also speaking to her parents “a couple different times.” 

Perry also responded to questions about whether she had contacted Kocian and Ross following their coming out as survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse. Perry did not answer the question directly, and instead talked about how challenging the legal environment is at the moment, and said she hopes she can have more communication once a resolution is reached.

Perry was asked to comment about the recent allegations concerning Coach Qi Han at Everest Gymnastics. Again, Perry did not address this question directly, but said that “they are doing a lot of things” including looking into their Safe Sport policy and how they educated their membership and staff about this policy, stating that “the key to prevention is education.”

A question was asked with regards to USAG’s financial situation, in light of sponsors leaving the organization, in addition to the legal suits against them. Perry responded that they have many sponsors who have said they are “encouraged” and “want to stand by” the organization. She said that she feels confident that they will continue to grow their partnership program. With the legal proceedings, she stated again that USAG is “committed to resolve as quickly as possible.” 

Circling back to this Championships, Perry was asked about whether there would be any gesture for the survivors or recognition during the competition, similar to what some of the NCAA athletes did during the 2018 season. Perry did not answer the question directly, but said instead that she hopes it’s clear that “we are all of our athletes’ advocates” and that the competitions today are about celebrating the athletes’ success. Perry said that she envisions a future where survivors may stand side by side with the organization in making changes.