USA Gymnastics, which has been functioning without a CEO since Steve Penny resigned in March due to allegations that he and the organization failed to properly address allegations of sexual abuse against member coaches and Larry Nassar, the former team doctor, has announced the search committee that will help find the candidate to replace him.
Olympic gymnastics fans might recognize a few members of the search committee: Seven-time Olympic medalist Shannon Miller; 1991 world champion and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Kim Zmeskal-Burdette; 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Raj Bhavsar; and 2005 world champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Chellsie Memmel.
Both Memmel and Zmeskal-Burdette are currently gymnastics coaches. Memmel, since retiring from gymnastics in 2012, coaches at her parents’ gym in Wisconsin. (She is also a judge.) Zmeskal-Burdette co-owns (along with her husband, Chris) Texas Dreams, a Coppell-based facility that has produced several national team members and NCAA All-Americans. One of her gymnasts, Ragan Smith, was an alternate to the 2016 Olympic team.
Miller, once the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history—that distinction now belongs to Simone Biles, as do all records in women’s gymnastics—has become a spokeswoman for women’s health issues since retiring from the sport in 2000. (She is an ovarian cancer survivor.) Miller also has a lifestyle brand.
Raj Bhasvar was a longtime member of the men’s national team. He was an alternate to the 2008 Olympic team and was called up to replace an injured Paul Hamm and helped the team win an unexpected team bronze in Beijing—the men’s program last Olympic team medal.
The other members of the search committee are current USA Gymnastics board members David Benck and Bitsy Kelley and one former member, Jim Morris. Benck is vice president and general counsel to Hibbett Sports, Inc. Kelley, up until March, was the vice president of Outrigger Enterprises Group, which her grandparents had founded. Morris is the vice chair of Pacers Sports and Entertainment.
This group, according to the statement released by board chair Paul Parilla, is in the process of choosing an executive search firm. Parilla wrote that the organization had originally intended to announce the search firm, the process and timing of the nationwide search, and members of the committee at the same time at a later date. They decided, however, to identify the search committee now since they’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries about what was going on inside the notoriously insular organization.
Since the sex abuse allegations against the coaches and Nassar were made public last year, frustrated fans, athletes, coaches have been calling on the national governing body to be more responsive and transparent. Revealing who is on the search committee is a small gesture towards greater transparency.