Longtime sports executive Tracy Marek will take over as the head of U.S. Figure Skating in January, becoming the first female chief executive in the 101-year history of the national governing body.

The organization announced Marek’s hiring in a statement Thursday, the same day one of the strongest and deepest American teams in years begins competing at the Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy.

”I’m honored to join the figure skating family,” Marek said in a statement. ”The organization’s legacy of international success and continued membership growth is a testament to the bright future ahead for the sport.”

Marek takes over for Ramsey Baker, who announced in June that he would step down at the end of the year. He’d been with U.S. Figure Skating in a variety of roles since 2005, and was instrumental in guiding it through the COVID-19 pandemic.

”With her longstanding success in the sports industry, we know we’ve found the right person to lead U.S. Figure Skating,” said Sam Auxier, the organization’s president. ”Tracy brings a wealth of experience in marketing, brand development and organizational leadership that will be a valuable asset to U.S. Figure Skating’s organizational strategy.”

Marek has spent 25 years in sports marketing, including the past 19 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where she most recently was executive vice president and chief marketing officer. She led branding and community efforts for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in February and has helped the Cavaliers rank among the league’s top 10 teams in annual gross revenue.

She also spent time developing branding and marketing plans for the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League, the Cleveland Charge of the NBA G-League and Cavs Legion GC, a professional gaming team affiliated with NBA 2K.

Prior to working in Cleveland, she was vice president of business operations for the Fort Wayne Wizards, a minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres, where she led financial and organizational restructuring of the franchise.

Marek takes over day-to-day operations of U.S. Figure Skating at an important juncture.

The U.S. had a strong Olympics in February in Beijing, finishing second to the Russian team on the medal table. Nathan Chen captured gold in the men’s competition, ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue earned individual bronze, and all three had a hand in helping the Americans win silver in the team event.

The team medal could eventually be elevated to gold pending the outcome of an investigation into Russian doping, which is slowly winding its way through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Many of the members of the Beijing team have stepped away, though, taking a break from competition or announcing their retirements. And a new generation is beginning the four-year run-up to the next Winter Games in Italy.

The push is led by Ilia Malinin, the 18-year-old wunderkind who landed the first quad axel in competition earlier this year, and 15-year-old Isabeau Levito, who took silver at both of her Grand Prix assignments this season.

”I am dedicated to growing the sport further, cultivating an inclusive environment for all and providing the support our membership needs to develop well-rounded champions from the grassroots to the Olympic level,” Marek said. ”I look forward to amplifying the strong foundation created by generations of figure skating athletes, coaches, officials and community members who continually showcase the very best of this remarkable sport.”

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