Tasha Schwicker Moser knew she had a choice.
The former Olympian could continue to work outside, trying to bring USA Gymnastics to justice if she tries to get out from under the wreckage of the scandal with Larry Nasar. Or she could throw herself into the void and bring her defense of the victims of sexual assault committed by a former national team doctor – a group that includes Schwicker Moser and her sister Jordan – to the forefront.
It turned out that there was no choice at all.
When a legal settlement between the organization’s battle and hundreds of plaintiffs provided for the creation of a special seat on the U.S. Gymnastics Board of Directors for the Nassar victim, Schwickert Moser found her hand metaphorically raised in the air almost without reflex.
This is the least a 37-year-old mother of three could do if she wants to save a sport she loves so much, even if it means overseeing an organization she and her sister sued in 2018 for not perceiving serious allegations of sexual abuse or maintaining a culture of accountability and transparency.
Schwicker Moser’s four-year term began on Wednesday. She enters into a position with serious skepticism that the national governing body of sport can make the changes she deems necessary. And she realizes that her decision to join the council will raise eyebrows.
“I know some people will say,‘ You don’t care. The organization was so awful for gymnasts of your generation, why should you care? ‘”Schwickert Moser told The Associated Press. “But someone has to take care, right?”
Schwicker Moser, who now works at a law firm in Dallas, feels that her experience as an athlete, her legal background and her passion for the sport that led her to the 2000 Olympics, and a pair of NCAA all-around titles gave her a set of skills. which makes her exceptionally qualified to keep the US gymnastics accountable.
“I think I have the tools I need to make an impact,” she said, adding that her goal is to “contain and balance all future decisions.”
Over the past five years, USA Gymnastics has undergone major leadership changes, including a restructuring of the women’s national team program. The old model, in which one person acted as a high-performance program director, was blown up this spring. The new paradigm divided the position into three equal positions: development leader, strategic leader and technical leader.
Olympic medalists Alicia Sacramone Quinn (strategic leader) and Chelsea Memel (technical manager) took on new roles last week, and Dan Baker took over as development leader.
“For this position to be held by one person, this person must be a unicorn,” said Schwickert Moser. “Given the climate in sports, this man does not exist. I think it’s better to have a panel of three people, so I think it’s a change of policy, a contour (of) the position of the position, I think it’s a reasonable change. “
However, Schwickert Moser spoke out against the decision not to hire Olympic gold medalist Dominique Machano for strategic leadership. Machana, who has raised concerns about the abuse of coaching practices by former national team leaders Bella and Martha Caroly, has for many years been a staunch defender of Nassar’s victims.
Although Schwickert Moser stressed that she personally had no problems with any of the employees, she called the decision to pass Machana a lost opportunity.
“I think hiring her would make a big statement (because) we have someone who so publicly supports the survivors,” she said.
Schwickert Moser noted that she was not involved in the decision-making process, hinting at one of the main problems she sees U.S. gymnastics with when trying to build a new course.
“I think the connection between the organization and the community was very bad,” she said. “I just feel like it was all so secret, whether we can’t talk about it or not.”
USA Gymnastics spokeswoman Jill Gere said on Thursday that the organization was “lucky to have many strong candidates”, adding that last week USA Gymnastics asked Machana about “a possible discussion on how we could work together to continue promoting women’s art.” program. “
Schwicker Moser wants USA Gymnastics to make transparency a priority, trying to restore trust in the gymnastics community.
“Let’s be active, not reactive,” she said.
U.S. Gymnastics Council Chair Catherine Carson called what anyone with Schwickert’s experience “a huge addition to our council” and “crucial to ensuring sustainable cultural change in USA Gymnastics”.
Changes Schwickert Moser is firmly committed to viewing. Despite the personal trauma she suffered, she still enjoys the sport that made her a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team. She knows the vital role that gyms across the country play in the physical, emotional and mental development of tens of thousands of young athletes, from toddlers to those who dream of performing under the Olympic rings.
It was those athletes she meant when she agreed to join the board. She cannot change the past. US gymnastics also cannot. The future, however, is another matter.
“I just want to make sure that athletes are safe, children are safe, our current and future generations are safe, and they have an organization that is doing the right thing, and the interests of athletes are priority number one,” she said.
She remains concerned about coaches who have not changed their philosophy to become more athletic-oriented. She said eating disorders caused by coaches who directly or indirectly gymnasts shame on the body are “elephants in the room”.
“If we have coaches who think that victory is the only thing that matters, and that the well-being of the person as a whole, if we are not worried, they need to go,” she said. “You have to get on the train that is going in the right direction, or you have to get out. When does that mean many coaches are leaving the sport? I don’t care. We are not going to continue to spoil and destroy the lives of young athletes. “
Other AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports