Q&A with Steve Penny

The president of USA Gymnastics on the 2024 Olympic bid, his philosophy on hosting events and the keys to his success in a pivotal NGB position

Steve Penny

The nature of leadership positions at national governing bodies makes them short-term propositions for many, as top officials need to keep many constituencies happy while maintaining control of the organization. Few have succeeded like Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. Penny joined the NGB in 1999 and has been president since April 2005. In that time, he’s become a leading voice in the NGB world and has put the sport of gymnastics on solid footing, with U.S. teams consistently winning medals at international events. But the number of colleges fielding gymnastics teams is decreasing, and Penny still faces the ongoing challenge of producing results as well as compelling events.

In this interview with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, Penny discusses the benefits of a Boston Olympics, USOC/NGB relations and how to take events to the next level.

What was your reaction to the USOC bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games?

There are so many reasons in my mind why the International Olympic Committee should want to come back to the United States and should make every effort to come back. If you’re not coming to the United States for an event like the Olympics on somewhat of a rotational basis, then you’re really not much of a global event as far as I’m concerned. One of the things I think that the U.S. provides is a heightened sense of relevance to big events. If you’re going to continue to put events in these remote parts of the world, to me all you’re doing is challenging the relevance of those events. I think there’s a real strong need to bring the Olympics back to the United States in the not-too-distant future. Any one of the four cities that were still left standing at the end would have been great.

To read the rest of this Q&A in the digital edition of SportsTravel, please click here.