Vaccine Requirement

Effective Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee will require all employees, athletes, contractors and others to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or obtain a medical or religious exemption prior to accessing USOPC facilities – including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Centers – and all events or activities hosted by the USOPC’s internally managed sports. As of Dec. 1, 2021, this mandate will also extend to all Team USA delegation members or hopefuls for future Games.  

The health and well-being of our Olympic and Paralympic community continues to be a top priority. This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation and optimal service to athletes. 

In addition to the vaccine requirement, we will continue our standard mitigation policies and protocols as outlined in the following: 

Developed based on medical and public health guidance, these policies may be refined over time and reinforce the CDC recommendations for vaccinated individuals – including wearing masks indoors and testing upon return from travel.  

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the CDC website.  

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who does the USOPC’s vaccine requirement apply to? 
USOPC Employees. All USOPC employees (including full-time, part-time, temporary and agency staff members) are required to submit documentation of their full vaccination, or be granted an exemption by the USOPC, by Dec. 31, 2021, as a condition of employment. 

However, please note that accelerated timelines will be required for some employees based on their role. As of Nov. 1, 2021, employees must show proof of vaccination or be granted an exception prior to accessing any USOPC facility (such as HQ or the training centers) or serving at a camp, activity or event hosted by an internally managed sport.

Additionally, all delegation members or potentials who will support Team USA at the Games, will need to show proof of vaccination or be granted an exemption by Dec. 1, 2021. Please consult your people manager to determine if one of these scenarios applies to you. 

As of Nov. 1, all new USOPC employees are required to provide verification of their vaccination status or be granted an exemption prior to their start date. 

Athletes. All athletes who are eligible for an FDA-approved vaccine (currently ages 12 and older) are required to submit documentation of their full vaccination, or be granted an exemption before arriving at a USOPC facility (including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid and the sports medicine clinic in Chula Vista) or participating in events or activities hosted by USOPC internally managed sports. This mandate also applies to international athletes accessing our facilities and these events. 

By Dec. 1, 2021, athletes must also have submitted proof of vaccination to the USOPC or have been granted an exemption as a condition of participation at future USOPC delegation events, such as Olympic and Paralympic Games, Pan and Parapan American Games and Youth Olympic Games.  

National Governing Bodies. Any NGB staff member accessing a USOPC facility (including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid and the sports medicine clinic in Chula Vista), participating at a camp, activity or event hosted by an internally managed sport, or serving as a member of a USOPC delegation event  will be required to provide proof of vaccination or be granted an exemption according to the timeline outlined below.  

Other Constituents. As of Nov. 1, 2021, all other USOPC vendors, contractors, visitors and community members will be required to show proof of vaccination or be granted an exemption prior to accessing a USOPC facility for more than one hour, participating in an internally managed sport activity, and/or attending a USOPC delegation event.

Which sports are internally managed by the USOPC and how are these sport activities impacted by the vaccine requirement?
All participants at any camps, activities and events for the following internally managed sports will be required to adhere to the vaccine mandate as of Nov. 1, 2021:

  • Para Alpine Skiing
  • Boccia
  • Para Cycling
  • Para Nordic Skiing
  • Para Snowboarding
  • Para Swimming
  • Para Track and Field

What is the deadline to meet the vaccine requirement? 
Effective Nov. 1, 2021, you will need to be fully vaccinated or approved for an exemption by the USOPC to be permitted access to USOPC facilities (i.e. training centers and/or physical offices) or participate at an activity, camp or event hosted by an internally managed sport. Additionally, as of Dec. 1, 2021, all Team USA delegation members and hopefuls for future Games will need to submit documentation of their full vaccination, or be granted an exemption as a condition of participation. 


What vaccines are acceptable to meet this requirement? 
The USOPC will accept verification of any COVID-19 vaccination that has received Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, or is approved by the World Health Organization to meet this requirement. Please note that boosters may be required in the future. 

How can I get vaccinated or schedule an appointment? 
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is free and easy. Please use your state system to access the vaccine wherever you live. Visit the CDC website for a list of vaccination locations in your area and more information on how to schedule an appointment or walk in today. Team USA athletes who are seeking support, please contact a USOPC health care navigator at (800) 933-4473, Ext. 2 or athletehealthcare@usopc.org

When do I become fully protected after receiving the vaccine? 
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If it has been less than two weeks since your last shot or if you still need to get your second dose, you are not considered fully protected. 

How can I submit my COVID-19 verification records? 
Online resources and a personalized link to submit your vaccine verification, or to apply for a medical or religious exemption, will be available and distributed by Oct. 1 for USOPC employees, the OPTC community and national team athletes for internally managed sports. All Beijing delegation members and hopefuls will receive more information and a link to upload your vaccination records once the long list is finalized in mid-October. Online resources will be specific for: 

  • USOPC employees and contractors
  • Team USA delegation members and hopefuls for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022
  • OPTC community for training center usage
  • National team athletes for internally managed sports
If you are an athlete or NGB representative that falls into more than one of these populations, you will receive customized links for each group and will be required to complete the verification or exemption process multiple times.

Documentation of your full vaccination, or granted exemption, should be submitted prior to your arrival at a USOPC facility, internally managed sport activity or delegation event. Please upload your documentation once you have been fully vaccinated (e.g. following your second shot in a two-dose series).  

How do I know if my records have been received and verified? 
Once you enter and upload your information, your records will be reviewed. Please allow one week for processing. If you are in the process of receiving a two-dose vaccine series, you will not be considered in compliance until the second dose is submitted and reviewed. Once that process is complete, you will receive a secure message indicating that your records have been verified. 

Medical and Religious Exemptions

How can I apply for an exemption due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief? 
The USOPC will offer individuals the opportunity to apply for a medical or religious exemption through an independent third party. Requests for exemptions will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Vaccination Requirement Application Panel (i.e. Vax RAP).  Sample versions of the exemption request forms for athletes and NGBs can be found below. Please note, you will still need to submit your vaccination status through the personalized link provided to you via email.  

How long will the exemption process take? 
Please allow up to one week for your exemption request to be reviewed. You will be notified that your request has been approved or denied within that time.

What will happen if I’m unvaccinated and granted an exemption? 
For unvaccinated individuals who are granted an exemption, we will require daily COVID testing for any day(s) that you would be accessing a USOPC facility, participating in an activity hosted by an internally managed sport, or representing Team USA at a delegation event such as the Games. You will also be required to follow all other COVID protocols as outlined in the above policy documents for the Games, Trials, training centers and workplace. We will monitor COVID prevalence and CDC guidelines and may change these requirements as necessary. 

If I am granted an exemption, who pays for the daily testing? 

For any USOPC employee, contractor, Beijing delegation member, or a resident athlete at one of our training centers, the USOPC will cover the cost of daily testing for anyone with an approved exemption. For camps that come to an OPTC, the NGB will be responsible for covering the costs. 

What happens if I apply for an exemption and am not approved? Is there a process for me to challenge that? 
For non-USOPC employees who apply for an exemption and are not approved, there is an opportunity for review of that decision and such review will be handled by the appropriate panel, such as the OPTC Review Panel or the Games Administrative Board, which includes athlete representation. For USOPC employees who apply for an exemption and are not approved, this will be handled as an employment matter without an opportunity for review.

Athletes and National Governing Bodies

Will the vaccine requirement apply to NGBs as a condition of membership? 
No. However, we strongly believe that the best solution for the Olympic and Paralympic community is to have the highest percentage of vaccinated individuals, and we highly encourage NGBs to consider implementing their own vaccine requirements for their employees, and the facilities and events they manage. The vaccine requirement, will however, apply to all NGB staff who are based at an Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, given the proximity to athletes. Per the lease agreement, it will not apply to NGB staff based at Sport House in Colorado Springs.  

What about U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials or NGB-owned events? 
NGBs will determine the COVID-19 protocols at the 2022 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials.  

Why implement a requirement for the Winter Games in Beijing when it seemed like Tokyo worked without this need? 
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new variants of the virus emerge, the USOPC is dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community, both at home and globally. Unfortunately, this pandemic is far from over. The vaccination requirement will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff in Beijing.  

What if I am on the long list for the Beijing 2022 Games and am not yet vaccinated? Do I have to get vaccinated by Nov. 1 to qualify? 
We recommend you adhere to the guidelines of the policy as soon as possible. To be eligible to participate as a member of the Team USA delegation or long list for the Beijing Games, you need to be vaccinated or have received an exemption by Dec. 1.

Will I know whether my teammate, roommate, coach, service provider, etc., has been granted an exemption?  
No, due to privacy concerns, we will not be able to reveal individuals’ vaccination status.

How will this impact the OPTCs? 
Implementing this requirement will allow us to operate the training centers with more consistency. This will also enable us to remove the capacity limits we had to implement since the summer of 2020. We will continue to have COVID mitigation protocols to keep everyone safe. Please review the OPTC COVID Playbook for more details.   

I’m an OPTC resident athlete. What happens if I can’t complete my full vaccination series by Nov. 1? 
For OPTC resident athletes who are not yet vaccinated, you will need to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible to comply with the Nov. 1 deadline. Please contact athleteservices@usopc.org with questions.  

Will this requirement apply to athletes attending camps at the OPTCs? 

Yes. All camp athletes, whether domestic or international, will need to be fully vaccinated or have been granted an exemption prior to arrival at either training center in Colorado Springs or Lake Placid. While the requirement will apply to all USOPC employees, it will not apply to individuals accessing the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista. 

What if I am living or training abroad and cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccination in my current location? 
Being a member of a USOPC delegation and/or accessing one of our facilities or internally managed sport activities will require vaccine verification or an approved exemption. If you are an athlete living or training abroad and experience difficulties receiving the vaccine, please contact athleteservices@usopc.org to determine how we can best support you. 

What if I am competing during the mandatory timeframe to get the vaccine and I am unable to comply in time? Can I get an extension? 
Being a member of a USOPC delegation and/or accessing one of our facilities or internally managed sport activities will require vaccine verification or an approved exemption. As we prioritize the health and safety of our full community, we will not grant extensions to the timeline outlined above. If you have questions or concerns, please contact athleteservices@usopc.org to determine how we can best support you.