The USOC is still a House of Cards after revoking USA Gymnastics NGB status
In the last few days we have witnessed the USOC initiating a decertification of USA Gymnastics as a National Governing Body, and a White House meeting of athletes and USADA attacking a wayward IOC and its drug testing proxy WADA. While an overdue yet promising first step, we find the timing and hidden agendas behind both these events worthy of consideration. They create a facade of effective and visionary leadership and policy, and divert attention from the real issue of the USOC: endemic negligent and ineffective board and executive leadership, which has allowed a bloated and at times nefarious bureaucracy to cover up systemic sexual and financial abuse of our athletes-in the name of “TEAM USA” and medals. The USOC operates out of a "Too Big Too Fail" mindset but in truth, they are a House of Cards.
While the cleansing of USA Gymnastics is an overdue and positive step to provide victims some justice and protect our athletes in the future, it is only the tip of the iceberg and needs to be followed by a reckoning of USOC Board Members and senior executives who looked the other way to protect their careers and child molesters, not only in gymnastics, but also other NGBs including USA Swimming. Some evidence is already in the Congressional record. The new CEO’s own projecting words about USA Gymnastics absolutely apply to the USOC:
"The short answer is that we believe the challenges facing the organization are simply more than it is capable of overcoming in its current form."
As a reminder, in March this year, five Olympians launched Olympians Rising by publicly calling for a mass resignation of USOC Leadership for negligence and even malfeasance in allowing the sexual abuse of hundreds of gymnasts by Larry Nassar. While the resignation of USOC President Larry Probst followed (six months after former USOC CEO Scott Blackmun resigned earlier), these actions are but the beginning of the only real solution to put TEAM USA back on track:
The mass resignation (effective de-certification) of the entire USOC board and executive leadership, and a Congressional rewrite of the Amateur Sports Act.
This is a closed unaccountable eco-system that needs a thorough house cleaning. It may start in earnest when four Congressional Subcommittees soon publish the results of their hearings, subpoenas and investigations on the USOC’s systemic role in sexual abuse of our athletes.
The actions of the USOC leadership, like USA Gymnastics, make it clear that they just don’t get it and in effect are treating the symptom, not the disease.
The USOC does not need a tune up--it needs to be replaced.
We have called for this since we launched in March 2018. After multiple Congressional subpoenas and hearings that should have the leadership of the USOC tidying up their resumes, the USOC Board still had the gall to appoint, without input from their own Athletes Advisory Council, both sport marketing executive Sarah Hirshland (whose main qualification was once working for de-facto USOC President Casey Wasserman, Head of LA2028), and long serving Board Member former VISA Sports Marketing Executive Susanne Lyons as President. Hirshland, a month before taking the CEO role at USOC, showed her true colors by refusing to shake the hand of Larry Nassar victim Aly Raisman at a July 24th Congressional hearing. After several attempts to say ‘hi’ Aly Raisman asked Sarah Hirshland: “You can’t just say hi to me?’ She (USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland) said no and then rushed out.” Hirshland cited “legal instructions”, which speaks volumes to her (lack-of) leadership style and moral fiber.
Not only was current USOC Chairwoman Susanne Lyons told to resign by a House Member, but also to bring personal counsel to the next Senate Commerce Committee Hearing (perhaps to advise her on defending personal liability for negligence) by Ranking Member Senator Richard Blumenthal, former Attorney General of Connecticut. This was before Lyons was bumped up to become USOC Chair (or maybe a “reward” and USOC “middle finger”’ to Congress) appointed to replace Larry Probst, running into the rabbit hole in front for personal liability for malfeasance on his watch.
It is Berlin 1944 in Colorado Springs. As the lawsuits and bad press continue to pile up, they continue to implement a joint venture with LA2028 to convey most of the $billion+ of prospective media and sponsorship payments due to TEAM USA, 10 years in advance of the three week event called the Olympic Games, to an group of LA media and political insiders, the leader of which just listed one of his homes for $125mm--this while many American athletes training for LA2028 live on minimum wage. Is this conveyance in anticipation of a bankruptcy filing of USA Gymnastics and even the USOC? Or just more financial abuse of American athletes and families? As the House of Cards of the USOC leadership continues its slow motion collapse, stay tuned with us.