Twist in horrific sexual abuse scandal
USA Gymnastics has requested the resignation of senior coach Mary Lee Tracy just days after her appointment, following an outcry by sex-abuse victims of former team doctor Larry Nassar.
A statement from USA Gymnastics sent to AFP confirmed the organisation was seeking Tracy's resignation after a furore erupted in the wake of her appointment as elite development co-ordinator this week.
Victims of Nassar, who was jailed for life earlier this year for abusing more than 250 athletes - including several stars of the USA's all-conquering Olympic team - had lambasted the decision to hire Tracy.
Tracy found herself at the heart of a firestorm for comments she made in late 2016 - when the first allegations of abuse against Nassar had already begun to emerge - in which she described the doctor as "amazing".
"My Olympians have all worked with Larry," Tracy said. "He has protected them, taken care of them, worked with me and worked with their parents. He's been amazing."
Aly Raisman, a member of the US 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medal teams, and among Nassar's victims, condemned Tracy's appointment.
Tracy had sought to push back against the criticism, insisting she was duped by Nassar and that she had not seen or heard of any hint of his crimes during her dealings with him at various training camps.
She had told a local news network on Friday (AEST) that she might not be able to take up her position following the outcry.
"I'm at a point where, I'm a strong lady, but I have a great family, and none of this is worth risking my family or watching what my family is going through right now while people are saying these awful things about me," Tracy said.
"I'll decline the position, resign, if this doesn't stop because it's not worth it to me."
She issued a statement on Facebook saying she would resign after being told to quit by USA Gymnastics for attempting to contact Raisman over her criticism.
She later issued a separate post saying she had retracted her resignation as she sought legal advice.
But in a later statement issued to AFP, USA Gymnastics confirmed Tracy had been shown the door.
"USA Gymnastics has asked Mary Lee Tracy to resign from the elite development co-ordinator role," the statement said.
"We strongly believe in a culture that encourages our athletes and survivors to speak up and make their voices heard.
"As a representative of the organisation, she inappropriately contacted a survivor, who is also a represented plaintiff, in response to that survivor's public criticism of her.
"USA Gymnastics decided it would be best to move forward without Ms Tracy in this role."
In her initial Facebook post on Friday, Tracy said she was unaware that attempting to contact Raisman, who is suing both USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee for their handling of the Nassar case, was off limits.
"I tried to contact Aly to apologise and hope we could work together to make our sport better and learn from all of the mistakes of the past," Tracy wrote.
"I was never informed that I was not permitted to speak to Ali (sic) or any of the survivors!"
Tracy's departure is just the latest controversy to rock USA Gymnastics.
The sport's governing body has presided over an unprecedented period of Olympic dominance in women's gymnastics since 2012 but failed to detect Nassar's crimes in what has become the biggest scandal in US Olympic history.