Yesterday Colorado Senator Cory Gardner announced a bill in Congress to authorize and fund the independent review of the USOC that we have called on since launching Olympians Rising almost a year ago.
The House of Cards that is today’s USOC is still playing “Too Big To Fail” despite reform suggestions from several groups including the Committee to Restore Integrity, The Nassar Victims Group, USAC AAC and Olympians Rising.
We are not surprised. Past attempts to reform the USOC have been made ineffective by the USOC leadership; we were duly warned that the USOC would be playing a hard waiting game, as it has always worked in the past. But the House of Cards is crumbling. This one will be different if the appointed panel members are informed and independent, and put ATHLETE’S RIGHTS first.
Until Cory Gardner’s announcement, it seemed that the USOC was again planning to whitewash any real USOC reform by playing "Business as Usual":
This was most recently confirmed in the problematic appointment of three new Board Members, as detailed by Olympian and AAC member Eli Bremer on this TV broadcast as well as in Orange County Register. "Their tactics include retaliation, recruitment of pliant “athlete representatives” in Board Seats, blacklisting any Olympian who voices dissent, and hiring of an army of aggressive “scorch and burn” lawyers, to attack athlete victims."
The present USOC, a non-profit posing as a private company, has become an unaccountable sports media company that primarily serves the interests of leadership and sponsors. This is an addition to the USOC being an unsupervised monopoly. Get educated on the issues here, as well as this Forbes article that characterizes the USOC as a “for profit” scheme run by insiders.
The USOC was founded as a result of widespread abuses in the American Olympic sport system. It exists thanks to the Amateur Sports Act that provides it the exclusive right to supervise 50+ NGBS and in return to commercialize the Olympic Rings. Congress can take this right away, or attach conditions to it, through legislation.
Congress can take this right away, or attach conditions to it, through legislation.
While many are demanding reform, past and current attempts confirm that this is a monumental task that will only succeed with a unified coalition working with Congress to investigate and introduce reform legislation.
In 2019, Team Olympians Rising will work with other reform-minded groups and individuals to support this Congressional effort to reshape the USOC, focused on comprehensive culture change, that includes these elements:
The USOC needs to be repurposed as a mentoring and leadership organization of its NGBs, whose primary goal is support of athletes and sport development. The new Act needs to establish clearly defined metrics and goals in alignment with an “athletes first” framework, and give the USOC power to force NGB compliance
Oversight of the USOC and NGBs needs to be made real and independent, with real consequences to the USOC and NGB leadership for failure to comply
USOC Board membership and selection process needs to be made inclusive, giving athletes real power. An athlete-focused board and executive leadership team needs to be established and empowered
In 2018 OLYMPIANS RISING started this path to victory by hiring a prominent Washington DC lobbying firm to represent reform interests. We submitted a 15 page report to Congress this fall that included several recommendations for immediate USOC reform, and will continue to support Congressional efforts to reform the USOC.
We submitted a 15 PAGE REPORT TO CONGRESS this fall that included several recommendations for immediate USOC reform, and will continue to support Congressional efforts to reform the USOC.
We encourage everyone who cares about fixing our Olympic Movement to join us in this effort. It will require committed and qualified leadership, and resources to keep a Congressional Panel on track. SIGN THE PETITION TODAY!