USA Gymnastics sparked outrage Tuesday when the organization announced it would be appointing Mary Lee Tracy as elite development coordinator for its women’s program.
Tracy, owner of the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, was an early defender of team doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of abusing more than 150 women, many of them gymnasts.
According to Yahoo Sports, Tracy spoke highly of Nassar during an interview with Cincinnati radio station WCPO. At the time of the interview, more than 50 gymnasts and patients of Nassar had accused him of abuse.
“My Olympians have all worked with Larry,” Tracy told WCPO in the Dec. 2016 interview. “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.”
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman publicly objected to Tracy’s hiring on Twitter.
USA Gymnastics has appointed someone who, in my view, supported Nassar, victim-shamed survivors, & has shown no willingness to learn from the past. This is a slap in the face for survivors, & further confirmation that nothing at @USAG has changed. What a profound disappointment! https://t.co/lklLiqsOCJ— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) August 29, 2018
“USA Gymnastics has appointed someone who, in my view, supported Nassar, victim-shamed survivors, & has shown no willingness to learn from the past,” Raisman tweeted. “This is a slap in the face for survivors, & further confirmation that nothing at @USAG has changed. What a profound disappointment!” she said.
Chelsea Kroll Williams, a former gymnast abused by Nassar, also panned Tracy’s hiring. “Mary Lee Tracy is one of the most controlling, domineering coaches I have ever met,” Kroll tweeted. “At USAG sanctioned events and camps, at least one of her athletes was abused by Larry Nassar. She supported him even when it was very clear that she shouldn’t. This is maddening.”