USA Gymnastics has tapped Shelby Salmon to direct its acrobatic gymnastics program and appointed Carisa Laughon as high performance coordinator. Salmon and Laughon will work together to maximize competitive opportunities for gymnasts, while growing the visibility of the sport.
In her new role, Salmon will oversee program operations, including rules and policies, the annual high-performance plan for elite athletes, judging clinics and testing, and the logistical and administrative aspects of national and international competition. She will also serve as liaison for the acrobatic gymnastics community, providing support and education for athletes, coaches, clubs and administrators, and working with community members to grow the sport of acrobatic gymnastics at the local level.
As high performance coordinator, Laughon, who was USA Gymnastics’ acrobatic gymnastics program director from 2002-06 and high performance administrator from 2016-18, will oversee national team coaches and athletes. She will plan and execute national team and development camps and will serve as the resident authority on technical regulations established and updated by the International Gymnastics Federation.
“I could not be more excited to bring Shelby and Carisa together to lead the acrobatics program,” said Stefanie Korepin, chief programs officer for USA Gymnastics. “Shelby brings a wealth of experience as a gymnast, coach, and administrator along with an excitement to support and grow acrobatics in the U.S. I believe Shelby’s experience, coupled with Carisa’s expertise and history with the discipline, will set the acrobatics program up for success.”
Salmon has been the educational services coordinator at USA Gymnastics since 2017. In this role, she managed logistics for in-person and on-demand courses, accreditations and Regional Congresses. She also developed educational content and worked with members to navigate technical issues. She has been a compulsory and optional level coach in Indiana for the past five years. Salmon previously served as director of operations for the University of Arkansas Gymnastics program following a four-year career as a student-athlete with the Razorbacks. She holds a degree in recreation and sports management.
“I’m thrilled to join USA Gymnastics’ programs team as director of the acrobatic gymnastics program,” said Salmon. “I look forward to championing strong communication within the community; creating new strategies to help grow the grassroots levels and the presence of acrobatic gymnastics across the United States; building strong relationships with coaches, volunteers and committees; and working hand-in-hand with Carisa to develop a high performance strategy that will set our athletes up for maximum success on the international stage. Most of all, I’m excited to be an advocate and partner for the acro community.”
A Brevet-rated judge, Laughon has been active within the U.S. acrobatic community for the better part of two decades. As director of educational services from 2006-10 and later an educational consultant to USA Gymnastics from 2010-18, she developed content and designed course materials for acrobatics coaching and judging education. Laughon served as the Acrobatic Gymnastics Program Committee Chair from 2015-20. She was also the U.S. team manager for the 2004 and 2006 Acro World Championships and held the role of technical director and technical committee liaison for the 2012 competition. Laughon earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Ball State University where she was a member of the school’s women’s artistic gymnastics team.
“I appreciate the opportunity to once again work with the elite athletes and coaching community of the acrobatic gymnastics program,” said Laughon. “The U.S. acro program has a long history of success at the international level, and I look forward to helping the next generation of athletes carry on that tradition. I am also excited to work alongside Shelby to grow our acrobatics program.”