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USA Gymnastics moves on from Mary Lee Tracy; USOC to discuss potential changes

USA Gymnastics has parted ways with Mary Lee Tracy, saying Friday she "inappropriately" contacted a survivor of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar.

Tracy was hired Tuesday to lead the organization's women's elite development program.

In a statement, USA Gymnastics said Tracy contacted a survivor -- "who is also a represented plaintiff" -- to discuss that survivor's criticism of Tracy's hiring. The organization said "it would be best to move forward without Ms. Tracy in this role."

"We strongly believe in a culture that encourages our athletes and survivors to speak up and make their voices heard," the statement said.

Tracy had posted on social media Friday that she was asked to resign after trying to contact gold medalist Aly Raisman to apologize, and in the hopes "we could work together to make our sport better and learn from all the mistakes of the past.''

USA Gymnastics' decision prompted Sarah Hirshland, the new CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, to call for another shakeup in the leadership of the organization in the wake of the Nassar scandal.

Hirshland sent out a statement shortly after Tracy was let go, saying in part that what happened is a clear sign that USA Gymnastics "is struggling to manage its obligations effectively.'' Hirshland said the USOC will discuss possible changes with the USA Gymnastics board over the weekend.

Since Tracy was hired to oversee the training program for national gymnasts aspiring to reach the very top rung of the sport, former Olympians and survivors of sexual abuse by Nassar have expressed their unhappiness with the Cincinnati coach.

Tracy has been widely criticized on social media and elsewhere for comments she made in 2016 in defense of Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor.

"USA Gymnastics has appointed someone who, in my view, supported Nassar, victim-shamed survivors, & has shown no willingness to learn from the past," Raisman posted on Twitter. "This is a slap in the face for survivors, & further confirmation that nothing at [USA Gymnastics] has changed. What a profound disappointment!"

In December 2016, Tracy told reporters at local television station WCPO that she defended Nassar because he had been "amazing" to her and the Olympians she had coached in the past. The interview came three days after Nassar was indicted on federal child pornography charges. The former doctor had, at that point, been fired from his job at Michigan State, charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and accused of molestation by dozens of former patients.

"We were all defending him because he has helped so many kids in their careers," Tracy said at the time. "He has protected them, taken care of them, worked with me and worked with their parents. He's been amazing."

Nassar is serving 60 years in federal prison for the child pornography charges. He was also sentenced to up to 175 years in state prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. More than 300 women have filed lawsuits saying they were abused by Nassar.

Tracy says now that she was fooled by a "master manipulator," according to a report Thursday from WCPO. She called Nassar "a monster" and said that when she made comments in 2016 she looked at him "like I would my dad or my brother."

The first woman to publicly accuse Nassar -- former youth gymnast Rachael Denhollander -- has been among those to publicly question how Tracy remained fooled after Nassar had been indicted for federal crimes and accused by dozens of gymnasts.

Tracy told the television station that she believes she is the right person for the development coordinator job but would consider resigning if the "cyberbullying" she has seen in the past several days continues.

"I'm a strong lady," she said to WCPO. "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."

Raisman and all four of her teammates from the 2012 Olympic team that won gold in London have accused Nassar of abuse. Denhollander also spoke out about USA Gymnastics' decision to put Tracy in a leadership position.

"Mary Lee Tracy publicly defended Larry after I and others came forward, refusing to believe," Denhollander wrote on Twitter. "USAG just made her elite program director. Tell me more about that change USAG. Tell me more. What a slap in the face."

USA Gymnastics, under new CEO Kerry Perry, has said it is trying to move forward with an athlete-focused attitude to improving its culture.

Two weeks ago, Simone Biles, another gold medalist widely considered to be currently the best gymnast in the world, criticized Perry and the organization for not answering questions or speaking publicly more often about the changes it says it's making.

ESPN's Dan Murphy and the Associated Press contributed to this report.