The United States Olympic Committee Athletes Advisory Council is responsible for broadening communication between the USOC and active athletes, and serves as a source of input and advice to the organization’s board of directors.
The AAC is comprised of one representative from each Olympic and Pan American sport, eight athletes representing the Paralympic Sport Organizations, and six athletes elected by the AAC to serve at-large, including a chair and two vice chairs. Athletes on the council must have represented the U.S. in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American or other major international competition within the last 10 years.
Before the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, U.S. athletes questioned the USOC governance decision of the election of the team flag bearer. Responding to the inquiries, then-USOC executive director F. Don Miller arranged for a meeting for the team captains to elect the USA flag bearer for an Olympic Games. Following the Games, a number of athletes expressed the need to have a voice in governance of sport in the USA, so Miller provided the resources for athletes to meet.
The first AAC meeting in 1973 pre-dated the passage of the Amateur Sports Act. It was a start-up council with no formal structure within the USOC, no internal structure within its own organization and no vote at the board of directors meetings.
But in 1975, President Ford organized the President’s Commission on Olympic Sport, which led to legislation in 1978 called the Amateur Sports Act. This act gives athletes both voice and vote in the governance process of Olympic Sport.
In 1998, the United States Congress amended the Amateur Sports Act, renaming it the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The amended Act strengthened the role of athletes in the Olympic family and now includes the athlete commission and its voting strength.
Chair: Sarah Konrad, 2006 Olympic biathlete
Vice Chair: Jessica Galli, four-time Paralympic track & field athlete
Vice Chair: Catherine Raney-Norman, four-time Olympic speedskater
Gabe Gardner, two-time Olympic volleyball player
Andrew Johnson, two-time Olympic cross-country skier
Kerry McCoy, two-time Olympic wrestler