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U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Responds To Athlete & NGB Engagement Commission Report

By United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee | July 17, 2019, 11:59 a.m. (ET)


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Today the Athlete & NGB Engagement Commission released an exploratory report following a nine-month review. Appointed by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to review the structure and governance of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community, and chaired by former WNBA President Lisa Borders, the “Borders Commission” was charged with delivering a series of recommendations to address how the USOPC can more effectively interact with and oversee its 50 diverse member National Governing Bodies, and support and engage with the athletes it serves.

“The USOPC has already made significant progress to strengthen protections and empower athletes, and we are grateful for the Borders Commission’s diligent and extensive work to ensure that progress continues,” said USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons. “We look forward to reviewing the full report and taking appropriate actions to implement and reinforce meaningful reforms to create a culture and environment where athletes can achieve both personal well-being and competitive success.” 

The USOPC chartered the Borders Commission to review the organization’s governance strategy and athlete protection policies – including examining whether changes are needed to the organization’s policies and procedures, its bylaws, and the Ted Steven’s Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The commission is comprised of nine members, including four athlete representatives, two NGB representatives, two independents and one USOPC board member. The commission was assisted by independent counsel.

“On behalf of my fellow Commissioners and myself, it has been our privilege to serve our athletes and the USOPC during this critical period,” said Borders Commission Chair Lisa Borders. “We are also grateful to those who spoke with us directly and those who submitted written perspectives while we worked on this important project. All the voices were valuable and impactful. It was an honor to be invited to fully engage and we look forward to continued and accelerated success for the Olympic and Paralympic movements, both on and off the competitive fields of sport.”

The USOPC has implemented a number of reforms and initiatives, including instituting new leadership and stronger accountability measures; enhancing safety policies and procedures, and advancing the capabilities, effectiveness and independence of the U.S. Center for SafeSport; increasing the frequency of membership audits and expanding the scope of annual compliance reviews; and modernizing its structure to guarantee athletes a powerful voice in key decision-making and functions.

“As we remain laser-focused on prioritizing and supporting the needs of athletes and NGBs, we must set clear standards of organizational excellence and hold ourselves and all member organizations accountable,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “With changes to governance and personnel, policies and procedures – and most importantly, culture – we are a very different organization than we were one year ago, but we have more work to do. We remain committed to that reform process and will share information about additional actions we are taking as a result of these recommendations. We are grateful to the entire Commission for their dedication and hard work over these past months.”

The report is available at this link.

The full list of commission members is below [commission member; perspective(s); key role(s)]:

Lisa Borders (chair); Independent; Former WNBA president

Han Xiao; Athlete; Chair, USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council/elite athlete (Table Tennis)

Elana Meyers Taylor; Athlete; Elite athlete/Olympian (Bobsled)

Mike Schultz; Athlete; Elite athlete/Paralympian (Snowboard)

Michael Lenard; Athlete; Retired elite athlete/Olympian (Handball)/Vice president of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport

Renee Chube Washington; NGB (Large); COO, USA Track & Field

Ted Morris; NGB (Small); Executive director, US Speedskating

Lorraine Orr; Independent, Youth Organization; COO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Beth Brooke-Marciniak; Independent, USOPC Board;  Independent member, USOPC Board

Davis Butler, Counsel;  Independent Counsel; Partner, Butler Mersereau LLP