St. Louis to host 2020 U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials
The 2020 U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s gymnastics team trials are heading to St. Louis.
USA Gymnastics announced Tuesday the trials will be June 25-28, 2020, at the Enterprise Center, home of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. Making the announcement 14 months in advance is a signal that USA Gymnastics is optimistic it will maintain its role as the sport’s national governing body amid the fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal.
The U.S. Olympic Committee began the process of stripping USA Gymnastics of its governing status last fall. USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December in an effort to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces from athletes who blame the group for failing to supervise Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them.
The 55-year-old Nassar worked at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for decades. He is serving an effective life sentence for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.
The bankruptcy filing also stayed any legal claims by the USOC against USA Gymnastics.
Newly hired USA Gymnastics President and CEO Li Li Leung said Tuesday she has been in close contact with the USOC and is confident her organization will still have the power to select the U.S. Olympic team next summer. The contract for the 2020 trials includes a clause that hands the event over to the USOC if that status changes.
The men’s and women’s Olympic trials will be combined next year. They were split in 2016, with the men’s trials held at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis and the women’s trials in San Jose, California. The men will compete on June 25 and June 27, with the women competing on June 26 and June 28.
“We think it’s the best of both worlds to have them competing together,” Leung said. “We’re happy to be able to do that next year.”
Leung said she had conversations with the heads of both the men’s and women’s programs to find the right date, adding she was “blown away” by the St. Louis bid to host the trials. While both the men’s and women’s Olympic teams will be announced by the end of the meet, Leung said the selection procedures are still in the review process.
The trials will be held three weeks after the U.S. championships, which will be contested June 4-7. A site for the championships has not yet been selected.