Yesterday, USA Gymnastics (USAG) announced that Mary Lee Tracy, a well-known gymnastics coach from Cincinnati, will take over as the new elite development coordinator for the women's program. Amidst Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing in January, during which he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 150 young women and girls, several USAG executives stepped down and the organization effectively cleaned house. At the time, USAG president Kerry Perry said she hoped the departures would help "effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization."
But this morning, Aly Raisman, three-time gold-medal Olympic gymnast, tweeted that this appointment "is a slap in the face for survivors." Raisman, a survivor of Nassar's abuse, has been an outspoken about the systemic issues within USAG. She also gave a powerful impact statement at Nassar's sentencing hearing. Since then, she's continued to be critical of the way that USAG has handled the fallout, and sued both USAG and the USOC, alleging that they knew about Nassar and failed to take proper action. "USA Gymnastics has appointed someone who, in my view, supported Nassar, victim-shamed survivors, & has shown no willingness to learn from the past," she tweeted.
Nassar worked with gymnasts at Tracy's former gym, Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, alongside Ray Adams, a gymnastics coach who was found guilty of multiple sex crimes against children. In December of 2016, Tracy was interviewed by WCPO Cincinnati about Adams and said that she saw no red flags, and didn't know about his criminal record when he was hired. "I thought he was a little generous," she said about Adams. "But you certainly hate to condemn someone for being generous."
Tracy was also asked about Nassar in the same interview, who had been charged with child sex crimes in Michigan at the time, and faced lawsuits from 50 gymnasts and patients. "My Olympians have all worked with Larry," she told WCPO. "We were all defending him, because he has helped so many kids in their careers. He has protected them, taken care of them, worked with me and worked with their parents. He's been amazing."
In this new role, Tracy will be responsible for overseeing three training programmes (called Hopes, the Developmental Program, and the Talent Opportunity Program) that are referred to as "the developmental pipeline for women's gymnastics." In other words, she will be one of the many gatekeepers of the sport who will be responsible for helping young gymnasts achieve their dreams.
Raisman added in her tweet that Tracy's appointment was "further confirmation that nothing at @USAG has changed. What a profound disappointment!"
Refinery29 reached out to Tracy and USAG for comment, and will update this story when we hear word.