U.S. Olympic Committee establishes Athlete & NGB Engagement Commission to evaluate structure of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community

WNBA President Lisa Borders to head commission aimed at ensuring 
the necessary structure and protections are in place to keep athletes safe

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A cornerstone of its Athlete Safety & Advocacy Action Plan, the United States Olympic Committee today announced the formation of the Athlete & NGB Engagement Commission – to be chaired by WNBA President Lisa Borders – that will evaluate the structure of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community. The working group will specifically review how the USOC interacts with and oversees the 49 diverse National Governing Bodies, and how the organization can better engage with the athletes it serves.

This action is another step in the USOC’s focused pursuit of enhanced athlete safety and engagement.

“Athlete safety is of the utmost importance to our community, and the Athlete & NGB Engagement Commission will provide essential analysis of our current governance strategy to help us collectively improve our safeguards,” said USOC Acting CEO Susanne Lyons. “We must ensure that we are exercising the proper level of authority in both creating athlete protection policies and making sure they are strictly adhered to.”

Borders has worked and delivered results in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She has more than 25 years of experience in operations, marketing, government relations and public service, including as president of the WNBA for the last two years. Prior to her role in women’s professional basketball, she was chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation and vice president of global community affairs at The Coca-Cola Company, after serving six years as City Council president and vice mayor of Atlanta.

“I am eager to engage in this process with the hope of assisting the U.S. sports community in emerging from this crisis stronger and further evolved,” said Borders. “Athletes of all ages and ability levels deserve to have safe environments in which to train and compete. The actions being taken now and in the future must help ensure that sport participation leaves a positive legacy for the millions of athletes in our country.”

“Lisa has been a very active champion for female rights in the sports world and beyond, and has a demonstrated ability to connect and engage with athletes,” said Lyons. “Young athletes should not have to fear sexual abuse when they are training or competing, and I am confident that Lisa’s leadership will help enact further actions to make our community stronger and better able to protect the many athletes we serve.”

The working group, which is currently being populated, will be comprised of at least seven members, including athlete, NGB and independent board representation, plus one or more individuals with governance expertise in relevant organizations. The working group will be fully formed later this month, and is expected to make a series of recommendations that will be implemented over the coming months.