SportsEvents Magazine

SEP 2018

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Page 36 of 51 September 2018 37 Those values mean putting the athletes first and encouraging them to enjoy the sport but not letting the sport rule their lives. "We are a college-bound competitive program," Spadaro said. "Very few athletes make the Olympics, so we stress that school is the direction for athletes to go. Shoot for college. In addition, our goal isn't for the competition and involvement in the sport to take their life away." To ensure that practice and competition doesn't overtake the day to day of athletes' lives, the organization has restrictions on training hours, which is sometimes chal- lenging but relies on the participation of parents to ensure. "Right now parents are the biggest enforcers of that," Spadaro said. "Restricting the number of training hours is one of the ways we achieve our goal in not burning the kids out or letting them sacrifice too much of their lives." To further protect its participants, the USAIGC has mandatory background checks for any and all employees, and holds clinics for coaches and club owners to ensure they understand the programs rules and regulations. Each year, the USAIGC season culminates in the USAIGC Gymnastics World Championships, which alternates between the East Coast and West Cost. This year, the event will be held in Orlando, Fla. "It's great to see all of the athletes compete but even more enjoyable is seeing them interact with each other and make new friends," Spadaro said. "That's one of the great things about our program. It's really fun and enjoyable. We strive to make not just healthy athletes but leaders of tomorrow." USA Gymnastics has been – and contin- ues to be – focused on creating a culture to support athletes as well. A significant step the organization has taken recently is the implementation of the recommendations in the report provided to USA Gymnastics last year that was conducted by Deborah J. Daniels, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at Krieg DeVault LLP. "This is one of the important and concrete ways USA Gymnastics measures its progress in its athlete-focused efforts," said Leslie King, vice president of communications for the association. "As of today, 86 percent of the recommendations are either implemented or in progress. USA Gymnastics is com- mitted to putting 100 percent of the recom- mendations in place and to implementing these important recommendations in ways that achieve the intent and are workable for the gymnastics community." A few of the actions taken in the last eight months include hiring a new high-performance team coordinator for the women's program through a selection process that involved both athletes and coaches, creating an Athlete Task Force, creating an Athlete Assistance Fund, expanding its Safe Sport Department and revising its Safe Sport Policy. "While our athletes are the heart and soul of USA Gymnastics, our coaches, gym clubs, judges and administrators provide the foundation for our gymnasts to thrive and succeed," King said. n K&K Insurance Group, Inc. is a licensed insurance producer in all states (TX license #13924); operating in CA, NY and MI as K&K Insurance Agency (CA license #0334819) t SPORT Report

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