Li Li Leung

With the 2023 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships and the USA Gymnastics (USAG) National Congress underway this week in San Jose, California, we feel incredibly proud of the progress our organisation and community have made during what has been a pivotal year for USAG.

Exactly one year ago, at this event in Tampa, we unveiled USAG's new brand, symbolising the organisational and cultural transformation we have pursued since 2019. 

Since that time, almost every bit of good news related to the sport of gymnastics - from legend athletes returning to the sport to new corporate partnerships to a new feeling of fun and celebration - is a direct reflection of the work that the entire gymnastics community has done to define and cultivate a new culture that prioritises athletes and their safety, health and wellness.

For the business of USA Gymnastics and our mission of supporting athletes, it has manifested itself in a series of new partners joining us. 

We were so fortunate in the last few years to have long-time partners renew, and since January, USAG has welcomed five brand new partners, including, most recently, Core Hydration, Comcast, and Nike. 

With those partnerships came title sponsorships of the Core Hydration Classic and these Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, while Nike made history as the most significant partnership in this organisation’s own history.

This commercial recovery has already and will continue to benefit our athletes at every level, from community gyms all the way to the Olympic Games.

Of course, women’s gymnastics has made headlines in recent weeks. With the return of Olympic greats Simone Biles and Suni Lee re-joining an elite lineup, including Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles and Shilese Jones, that won team gold at the 2022 World Championships, this next year will feature some of the most exciting competitions ever for USAG. 

American gymnast Kayla DiCello in action ©Xfinity
American gymnast Kayla DiCello in action ©Xfinity

The men’s programme is also continuing to get stronger with Olympians like Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus, along with young talent like National Collegiate Athletic Association champions Fred Richard and Asher Hong. 

The TV and in-venue success of the 2023 Core Hydration Classic earlier this month proved that our sport is growing and gaining traction like never before.

Athlete health and wellness remains the top priority for our organisation, which is why last fall we began a programme with GK Elite to reimburse national team athletes and coaches for mental health visits. 

In what has proven to be a hugely popular programme, we started having emotional support dogs present at key events this summer for the benefit of athletes, coaches and even judges. There also will be several of them onsite with us in San Jose.

As for the other disciplines, Rin Keys won our first-ever medal at a junior or senior Rhythmic World Championships, and last year, U.S. athletes won global gold medals in trampoline, tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics. 

We also hosted a World Cup event for the first time in four years, with the West Palm World Cup for trampoline and tumbling, where the U.S. won five gold medals.

My hope is that the work we have done towards our cultural transformation can continue to be seen and felt by fans and the community. 

Those who joined us in Chicago for the Core Hydration Classic can confirm there is a new energy, with more happiness, joy and celebration. 

We look forward to sharing this same energy with those with us here in San Jose and that everyone, including athletes, fans, parents, coaches, judges, club owners, members of the media or volunteers, enjoys the sport.

USA Gymnastics says it is incredibly proud of the progress the organisation has made over the past year ©USA Gymnastics
USA Gymnastics says it is incredibly proud of the progress the organisation has made over the past year ©USA Gymnastics

A key aspect of our transformation has been the focus of the "Three Ps" - new people, new priorities and new policies. We’ve made progress by hiring the right people, putting athletes and those who support them as our top priority for every decision we make, and instituting policies for support, such as our Athlete Bill of Rights. 

Accountability is also absolutely essential and comes through our Safety & Response Policy and Code of Ethical Conduct.

We have always wanted to show people how we have changed rather than tell people how we have changed - as the old adage goes, "actions speak louder than words."

Today, I can share that countless athletes, community members and organisations in the last year have told us that they see and feel that change first-hand.

And I am delighted to echo their sentiments. Our new partnerships, projects and athletic results reflect that good things start to happen when you live your values and others see it for themselves. 

We’re now in a place where athletes, coaches and corporate partners are excited to be part of this community.

I cannot stress enough how excited we are for the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships this weekend, which are sure to feature unbelievable performances from both legendary athletes and rising stars. 

As we look ahead to the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships this fall and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games arriving before we know it, I can confidently say that USAG and the entire USA Gymnastics community are on the right track to continue the ongoing cultural transformation of one of the world’s most beloved sports.

Although we have come so far, our work is not done as the process of transformation is never finished. We look forward to continuing it for years to come.