Ex-lawmaker Bono named interim CEO of USA Gymnastics
INDIANAPOLIS — USA Gymnastics on Friday announced the hiring of former Congresswoman Mary Bono as interim president and chief executive officer of the embattled organization that is still reeling from the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former team doctor Larry Nassar.
Bono will hold the position while USA Gymnastics searches for a permanent successor to Kerry Perry, who resigned under pressure from the United States Olympic Committee in September after nine months on the job.
Bono spent 15 years as a U.S. Representative from Southern California from 1998-2013. She won her first term in a special election running as a Republican to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, former pop star and lawmaker Sonny Bono. Mary Bono most recently worked at a consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
Bono, 57, has a background in gymnastics. She trained for several clubs for a decade.
“Mary is passionate about the sport, and having her as our interim president and CEO will move the organization forward,” USA Gymnastics board chairman Karen Golz said in a statement.
More than 200 women have come forward over the last two years claiming they were sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of treatment, including current or former members.
The group of survivors includes reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles, who was named to the 2018 world championship team on Friday shortly before Bono’s hiring was announced.
Nassar is now serving decades in prison for child pornography and sexual assault. USA Gymnastics is in mediation in an attempt to settle dozens of civil lawsuits.
Perry took over as USA Gymnastics president on Dec. 1, but was pushed out last month by the USOC following a series of missteps, including the botched hiring and firing of its elite development coordinator.
The coach, Mary Lee Tracy, was an early supporter of Nassar when allegations against him began to surface two years ago. After the announcement of her promotion, Tracy made an attempt to reach out to six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman — herself a Nassar victim — after Raisman called Tracy’s hiring “a slap in the face for survivors” and proof that the organization had not changed.
Mary Bono, a former politician, has a gymnastics background.