WAG Letter from Tom Forster on FB

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Mrs. Puma

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What do we think about this? (I saw it on FB and I couldn’t figure out how to copy the link so I copy/pasted)

Parents, athletes, coaches - PLEASE READ!

Why Is The USOC Requesting Section 8?
The USOC has informed our USAG Board of Directors that they plan to implement Section 8 which de-recognizes an organization of its status as NGB. I have met with Sarah Hirshland, the president of the USOC, a few times and it was communicated to me the USOC believes USA Gymnastics will suffer from the legal problems associated with the lawsuits from the survivors which will, in their opinion, hurt our High Performance Teams. I believe this to be a strategic move on their part to appease our critics and congress for the perceived lack of progress we have made as an organization to solve our public image problems. If the USOC takes on the task of managing our HP Teams USA Gymnastics will still be facing the challenges of litigation from the survivors.

What's Next?
Our Board has two options: 1) give up the NGB status voluntarily, or 2) respond to the USOC they feel we should remain the NGB. In the case of option two they must prepare to explain why USA Gymnastics should remain the NGB. I’m not sure how long this takes. At some point in the future USA Gymnastics could apply to become the NGB again.

If the Board chooses Option 1 then the USOC will take over responsibilities of managing and funding the High Performance Teams for all of our Olympic sports: Women’s artistic, Men’s artistic, Trampoline and Rhythmic. The USOC gives approximately $2M annually to USA Gymnastics to fund all the HP Teams. High Performance Teams, on the women’s side, is defined as Development camps and the National team. The USOC money goes to pay for things like camps, competition expenses such as travel, hotel, meals, national team member financial support and other related things for all our disciplines. The money does not pay for office salaries or other expenses related to our Junior Olympic programs.

It's Complicated
I believe the USOC is not aware of the complexity of operating our HP Teams. Our coaches as well as many of our young gymnasts participate in both JO competitions and elite competitions. USA Gymnastics has been committed to fund our HP Teams with money not included in the USOC budget. In other words it requires far more resources to run our teams than they know.

For example:
USA Gymnastics funds all premier events, such as American Classic, US Classic, and US Championships as well as qualifying events for other disciplines.
USA Gymnastics markets these events and administrates the organization of the events, including hotel contracts, transportation, food, staffing, etc.
USA Gymnastics coordinates with the local organizing committees and volunteers to help run our events.
USA Gymnastics communicates with FIG regarding international meets, deadlines for competitions, and negotiates hotel, transportation and security.
USA Gymnastics communicates with the parents of the Development athletes and National Teams and that’s just the women’s side.

There is more but the point is the USOC will struggle to manage what we have established over the past forty years.

What Happens Now?
The Board of Directors wants to hear from coaches, athletes, parents and club owners regarding this critical decision. Now is the time you should communicate with the Board of Directors what you want. Do you want to fight to preserve our status as the NGB for gymnastics or do you want to relinquish it? I am encouraging you to share this information with the parents and athletes in your gym so they can also communicate with the Board of what they want.

Here are the emails for the Board of Directors. Share it with anyone and everyone but communicate NOW - TODAY if possible!

Chairman: Karen Golz, Independent - [email protected]
Vice chair/Secretary: David C. Rudd, Independent - [email protected]
Treasurer: Stefanie Korepin [email protected]
Lois Bingham, Independent [email protected]
Kittia Carpenter, National Membership – [email protected]
Kathryn Carson, Independent [email protected]
Ivana Hong, Athlete Director – [email protected]
Brent Lang, Independent [email protected]
Steven Legendre, Athlete Director – [email protected]
Dylan Maurer, Athlete Director – [email protected]
Staci Slaughter, Independent [email protected]
Justin Spring, National Membership – [email protected]
Julie Springwater, Independent [email protected]
Kimberly Till, Independent [email protected]
Kevin White, Advisory [email protected]

Thank you for all that you do to support the athletes dedicated to our elite programs.

Tom Forster
High Performance Team Coordinator
Work hard. Work smart. Everyone has value.
 

Empowered

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I think that everyone who thought Tom was different needs to accept that the vast majority of USAG employees will ALWAYS put the organization over the athletes.

I also think it shows they still see Nassar as nothing more than a PR problem and are unwilling to accept their role in creating a safe haven for him.

I think it sucks and I’m not surprised in the least.
 

Dahlia

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Regardless of what anyone thinks of Tom, it was nice to see someone lay out what USAG's options are. Obviously he has his beliefs (as we all do). And I had no idea about funding (what USOC pays vs. what USAG contributes). It's good information to chew on, especially for some of us who have no idea exactly how USAG/USOC operate and such.

Interestingly enough, I saw a post on FB that USOC were the ones who recommended Bono for the interim ceo position. If that truly is the case, this all gets more complicated.
 
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Dahlia

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Ah, it was an article in the NY Times:

In October, Sarah Hirshland, chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee, sent along the names of Bono and another potential candidate to the gymnastics federation’s acting leadership, suggesting that the board interview them for the open chief executive’s job. Bono, who had competed in gymnastics, quickly stepped into the interim job. The U.S.O.C. had vetted her credentials, and checked her social media activity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/sports/-usa-gymnastics-scandal-.html
 

TumbleTimes4

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Regardless of what anyone thinks of Tom, it was nice to see someone lay out what USAG's options are. Obviously he has his beliefs (as we all do). And I had no idea about funding (what USOC pays vs. what USAG contributes). It's good information to chew on, especially for some of us who have no idea exactly how USAG/USOC operate and such.

Interestingly enough, I saw a post on FB that USOC were the ones who recommended Bono for the interim ceo position. If that truly is the case, this all gets more complicated.

Well if that’s the case, how the heck can we trust the USOC to make a wise decision regarding the new NGB or will they create an even bigger mess? Particularly if they choose the one associated with Don McPherson.

I read it more as Tom looking out for his current national team more so than the organization. If Simone hasn’t spoken out against him, he must be doing a decent job with the teams.
 

Flyaway

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Well if that’s the case, how the heck can we trust the USOC to make a wise decision regarding the new NGB or will they create an even bigger mess? Particularly if they choose the one associated with Don McPherson.

I read it more as Tom looking out for his current national team more so than the organization. If Simone hasn’t spoken out against him, he must be doing a decent job with the teams.

I agree. I believe he sees his job as looking out for the current national team/elites. I don't think he's trying to pit survivors against current elites - some of them cross over afterall. I think he's trying to point out that the USOC is not squeaky clean and they definitely have a vested interest in how things turn out.
 

suds

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...There is more but the point is the USOC will struggle to manage what we have established over the past forty years...

- Tom Forster...​

Depends on how we define success.

While gymnastics encompasses tremendous breadth, I speak here to simply the women’s elite and developmental teams:

Having the best bar coaches in the world, who know how and when to safely progress elite gymnasts through release moves and other high-level skills, is incredibly important.
This technical expertise is essential and does need to be retained.

However…

We used to watch National Team members return from the Ranch each month exhausted and drained: mentally, physically, and emotionally. It would take several weeks to recover, just in time to head back again. I profoundly disagree with the 40+ year philosophy of “Pound them all into the ground and see who survives, then call those athletes ‘Strong’.”

National Team and Developmental athletes should return from training camps physically tired, but energized inside: mentally, emotionally, nutritionally, and with significant improvement in their knowledge of self-care, training methods, leadership skills, etc.
Training camps should nurture the spark within, not be a source of multiple ways to extinguish it.

Developmental and National Team members are not only the best gymnasts in our country, but they are the future Executives of gymnastics in this country: future coaches, gym owners, administrators, and ambassadors for our sport. All athletes, at all levels, should be treated with this level of respect. Top-tier athletes should be recognized as the up-and-coming Executives that they are. Each training camp should be viewed as investing in the future. Show the top-echelon gymnasts in our country cutting-edge, evidence-based techniques of performance and self-care. A consulting team of experts from various disciplines should be advising the athletes. These nurtured, educated athletes then lead the next generation. It becomes a positive cycle.

One example: Our daughter’s experience with multiple Ranch camps proves out that nutrition at training camps is, conservatively, at least 30 years behind the times. What goes on is truly shocking. Instead, these high-performance athletes should be exposed to cutting-edge nutrition knowledge at training camps: both in what they are provided to eat, as well as lectures on nutrition for high-performance athletes. By devoting these resources to our current elites and developmental gymnasts, we reach multiple generations of children as the current elites reach out to younger athletes, both now and in upcoming careers.

By investing in our finest athletes with not only exemplary coaching in the gym, but also with education of, and demonstration of, self-care, leadership skills, etc., we are investing in future generations.

That is how I would define success.
 

Flipandtwist18

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What does everyone think of this announcement, a step in the right direction?

The USA Gymnastics board of directors has accepted the resignation of Chief Operating Officer Ron Galimore.
 
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ldw4mlo

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That folks are loyal to the organization who signs their checks should surprise no one.

At least Mr Forster did not plead for folks to write for USAG. Just to share your thoughts and opinions period, one way or another.

From my perspective with no dog in the hunt as my kid has no big aspirations of National Team.

It is nice to have central training facilities but not required. Most of the work the gymnasts put in is done at the individual gyms. The National Team did just fine this year at Worlds amid all the chaos. A true testament to the skill of the gymnasts and their coaches.

Regarding those high powered meets............ Lets not kid ourselves. That is about revenue for and promotion of USAG.
 
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