AAC Representative Nominee Letters to Voting Elite Athletes

Dec. 04, 2008, 6:17 p.m. (ET)

Grace Jividen, Reno Reser and Taraje Williams-Murray are running for election to be USA Judo's representative to the U.S. Olympic Committee Athletes' Advisory Council.

Below is a letter from Grace Jividen to elite athletes:

Dear Fellow Athletes,

I am writing to request your support for the position of USA JUDO Athlete Representative to the US Olympic Committee for the upcoming 2008-2012 quad. My qualifications for this position are numerous as follows. During the past two years, I have served on the USA Judo Board of Directors as the Athlete Director alternate to Rhadi Ferguson. During that time, I attended every Board meeting held and also attended every single USA Judo national event for both Juniors and Seniors. I was the only athlete representative to do this during my time in office. While at the events, I worked with every aspect of the event from pools and draws to setting up. I did this to ensure the event went smooth for our athletes. It was further of the utmost importance to me to be at the events so that I could act on behalf of the athletes and their families immediately when issues regarding, safety, eligibility, fair field of play and seeding of athletes arose. 

My qualifications also extend to understanding the challenges of an elite athlete. During my 25 years of competition I represented the United States in numerous national and international competitions that resulted in a 7th place finish at the 1992 Olympic Games, a gold medal and a silver medal at the Pan American Games, six World Teams and a silver medal at the World University Championships. Through this role, I was also able to build a strong relationship with the US Olympic Committee, which is evident from my appearances as a spokesperson at several USOC events for groups such as Girls Scouts of America and the US Olympians Association. The respect that the Olympic Committee gives Olympians is something to be considered and valued for a position of this nature.

While I feel fortunate and honored to have had the opportunity to represent the United States in the sport of judo, I believe that the experience that I have gained during my time away from competition has contributed greatly to my professional growth as a Board Member. I realize that the strongest contributing factor to creating successful athletes is having a strong management team to provide direction for the organization and ensure proper support on several levels. For the past 18 years, I have worked in high-level management for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I realize from this professional experience, combined with my Olympic experience, that USA Judo still has challenges that must be addressed.

It is clear that for athletes to continue to excel and work towards our first Olympic gold medal there must be proper funding and strong support for our teams in the form of staffing as well as proper management and distribution of our existing funds. We must build strong programs for grass root, national, international and elite athletes. I am extremely comfortable with the level of management and administrative detail required to oversee multiple and concurrent issues facing our athletes during the next quad and I am prepared to represent our athletes in the best possible manner.

I also feel strongly that since I do not have ties to any one specific team in the country, I have the ability to represent all of our athletes fairly without pre-existing biases. This makes me an ideal candidate for this position. My goal is to provide fair and equitable support for all of our athletes both on and off the field of play. I appreciate your support during the past four years and ask that you will continue to allow me to serve you for the next quad. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any issues you would like to discuss during this election time or the upcoming quad if I am elected.  

Yours In Judo,

Grace Jividen
1992 Olympian