Olympians Rising's Policy Reforms hit home at Congressional Roundtable on USA Gymnastics and USOC

Updated: Dec 15, 2018

12/11/18 Washington D.C.

A few days before Senate asks the Justice Department and FBI to investigate former USOC CEO Scott Blackmun for lying to Congress, Olympians Rising was invited to share our recommendations to Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Olympians Rising’s policy prescriptions detailed in this 15 page report were a major focus of the House Oversight and Government Reform Roundtable on the USAG and USOC's roles in the Larry Nasser scandal.

These concerned Members of Congress asked some great questions of the roundtable:

·         Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

·         Mark Walker (R-NC)

·         Glenn Grothman (R-WI)

·         Paul Mitchell (R-MI)

·         Susan Brooks (R-IN)

·         Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

US Congress Roundtable: Congressman Paul Mitchell (MI) shares his concerns about USOC reform with August Wolf OLY, Founder of Olympians Rising.

Olympians Rising’s Founder August Wolf was able to emphasize the importance of several of our core policy priorities, including

Putting athlete’s safety and welfare first:

  • From insurance to direct athlete support – basic protection needs to be a focus

  • Establishment of a Special Victim Counsel Program and creation of a broad sexual assault climate survey

  • Creation of a Commission that has the power to make recommendations (e.g. Military Sexual Assault Panel)

Reforms to Corporate Governance to enhance oversight and accountability through:

  • Establishment an Office of Inspector General

  • Term-limits for board members

  • Strengthening of reporting requirements to Congress (annual and comprehensive)

Independent Funding:

  • “Money and Medals” focus does nothing for athletes. Need a forensic evaluation of where the funding is going and need to consider possibility of needing an additional independent funding stream.

Our recommendations related to sexual assault are derived in part from the June 2014 report of the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel ("the Military Panel" , the federal advisory committee within the Department of Defense (DoD) commissioned by Congress. Borrowing from the Military Panel's recommendations, we suggest the creation of a Special Victim Counsel program that would provide specially-trained legal advocates for athletes throughout the process of filing and litigating a claim.

We also make recommendations for oversight of USOC based on the internal structure of executive agencies.

Specifically, we recommend adopting term limits for members of the Board of directors, and the creation of an Office of Inspector General with investigative and subpoena powers to augment board oversight.

Additionally, we offer solutions to increase direct funding to athletes, ensuring they are treated equitably, and able to pursue their dreams.

Olympians Rising hopes to serve as a resource to federal officials and to provide the perspective of athletes on these crucial topics. We urge Congress to continue holding hearings to review these findings and explore ways to improve USOC operation.  

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