BOSTON — Kerry Perry, the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, finally faced the media at the 2018 national gymnastics championships today. Perry has appeared before two Senate subcommittee hearings and done a few of brief, very limited teleconferences with journalists, but this was her first, in-depth Q&A with reporters since taking the reins of the organization back in December.
Standing in front of a lectern, Perry opened with a seven-minute statement, delivered with all of the charisma of a sixth grader asked to read an essay about what they did on their summer vacation aloud in front of the class. The information in that prepared statement was not new to anyone who has been following the story: USA Gymnastics has closed the Karolyi Ranch, they have hired a new high performance director, they’ve reached out to survivors, they’ve created an athlete task force, and they’re in mediation with the Nassar survivors. (Blessedly, she only used one variant of her favorite buzzword, “empower,” in this speech.)
And then Perry faced the questions from the journalists. She didn’t answer any of them straightforwardly.
For example, here’s her answer to a question about whether USA Gymnastics had considered doing anything to honor the Nassar survivors like college programs had done throughout the NCAA season at tonight’s national championships:
“In terms of recognition, I mean I think it’s really clear—I hope it’s clear—and we’re going to communicate to make sure that it’s clear that we are all of our athletes’ advocates, that we are here, that USA Gymnastics exists because of our athletes and so celebrating competitions today, celebrating their success and celebrating what the sport of gymnastics does for our athletes, not just as they’re competing but beyond. It’s really to all of us. As I think about our survivors and I’ve been asked this question a lot, ‘What do I envision in the future?’ And I said what I envision is our survivors standing side-by-side with the organization and making changes as we continue down this path.”
That’s Kerry-speak for “No.”