Li Li Leung seeks to transform USA Gymnastics amid lingering skepticism

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INDIANAPOLIS — When Li Li Leung stepped into her role at the top of USA Gymnastics in 2019, many offered congratulations. Some then followed with condolences, alluding to the enormous rebuilding job Leung had undertaken. Three years later, the organization is, in many ways, still trying to emerge from under the cloud of a sexual abuse scandal that rocked the sport.

Leung believes the national governing body has made positive strides, evolving from the version of itself that failed to protect athletes from decades of abuse by former national team doctor Larry Nassar. Leung admits to past missteps and acknowledges the need to rebuild trust but believes she and others at USA Gymnastics have the right intentions, prioritizing athlete health and safety.

The organization settled its lawsuit with survivors of Nassar’s abuse last year and is now heading into this week’s U.S. national championships in Tampa, a marquee event for elite gymnasts, for the first time since that key legal resolution. The national team recently began working under a restructured leadership model that diffuses power from a single coach. And amid hopes of far-reaching cultural change — trading the domineering, fear-based coaching styles of the past for healthy and positive techniques — Leung believes the United States can maintain its competitive success in women’s gymnastics. That’s why she’s here, leading the sport from an eighth-floor corner office in…

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