Mary Bono: USA Gymnastics boss quits after Simone Biles & Aly Raisman criticism

Mary Bono: USA Gymnastics boss quits after Simone Biles & Aly Raisman criticism

The interim boss of USA Gymnastics has resigned after her appointment was questioned by Olympic champions Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.

Mary Bono was criticised after appearing to oppose Nike’s advertising campaign with Colin Kaepernick.

She was appointed as interim president and chief executive on Friday.

“My withdrawal comes in the wake of personal attacks that, left undefended, would have made leading USAG a liability,” Bono said.

Bono, 56, had also previously worked for a law firm which represented USA Gymnastics and its ex-team doctor Larry Nassar during a sex abuse scandal.

Nassar has been sentenced to more than 300 years in jail for abusing gymnasts.

His victims included 2016 Olympic gold medallists Raisman and Biles.

In a statement confirming her resignation, Bono claimed she had seen “assaulting behaviour” by a coach when she was a young gymnast.

“It is with profound regret, coupled with a deep love for the sport of gymnastics and respect for those who aspire to be great gymnasts, that I today tendered my resignation,” Bono said.

“I would have brought a fire in the belly to ensure that no-one as taken with gymnastics as I was at that age, should have to choose between abuse and ambition, or between properly speaking out and promoting personal success.”

Simone Biles (right) criticised Bono’s tweet, which has now been deleted

What did she say about Kaepernick?

Biles criticised Bono for tweeting apparent opposition to sportswear company Nike making NFL star Kaepernick the face of its new advertising campaign.

In 2016, Kaepernick protested against racial injustice by kneeling during the US national anthem, a gesture which has proved controversial in the country and drew criticism from President Donald Trump.

Bono had tweeted a picture of herself colouring in the Nike logo on her golf shoe.

“With respect to Mr Kaepernick, he nationally exercised his first amendment right to kneel. I chose mine,” said Bono.

She said it was an “emotional reaction” while at a tournament for families who have lost members of the armed forces – including her brother-in-law, who she said died while serving as a US Navy Seal.

Alongside a picture of Kaepernick, Nike’s advertising campaign used the phrase “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”.

Bono said members of the armed forces who died while serving had “literally sacrificed everything”, adding: “I regret that at the time I didn’t clarify my feelings.

“That one tweet has now been made the litmus test of my reputation over almost two decades of public service.”

More to follow.

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