COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee has announced its most sweeping governance reforms in almost 20 years, with more announcements expected in the coming months.
The reforms underscore a commitment to athlete representation, athlete safety and governance best practices. They reflect consensus recommendations stemming from an independent report on organizational failings that contributed to an environment in which disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar preyed on victims and survivors, from two critically important Congressional investigations and an independent report from the Borders Commission.
The bylaw amendments approved by the USOPC board of directors were posted for a mandatory 60-day public comment period in August 2019. A Governance Reform Working Group that included athletes and National Governing Body representatives, as well as other leading USOPC constituents, then reviewed those comments and provided its own.
Finally, the full USOPC board approved this first set of bylaw amendments, addressing dozens of reforms contemplated by the independent and Congressional investigations and reports.
The changes are just the latest in a series of reforms initiated by the USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons, who took the helm on Jan. 1, 2019, and USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland, who joined the organization in August 2018.
“We promised changes to our structure and our practices that are revolutionary and substantive, recognizing the importance of the athlete’s role in organizational decision-making, robust compliance and certification protocols, and reflective of the population that makes up the Olympic and Paralympic community in the United States – and today we’ve delivered an important step toward that promise,” said Lyons.
The USOPC board unanimously approved the changes on Nov. 7. The updated bylaws will be effective Jan. 1, 2020.
“These reforms are a significant first step of many in our ongoing efforts to ensure our athletes are at the heart of what we do and who we are going forward,” said Hirshland.
“We have taken action and will continue to take action with members of the Olympic and Paralympic community to affirmatively place athlete well-being and strong, smart governance on an equal footing with sustained competitive excellence.”
The reforms define specific updates, rights and obligations of the AAC, USOPA, and NGBC, as well as the office of Athlete Ombuds role. To view the reforms, visit TeamUSA.org.
About the USOPC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States.