Sending Office: Honorable Diana DeGette
Please Cosponsor the Bipartisan Strengthening U.S. Olympics Act
- Thousands of young American Olympic athletes have been sexually abused.
- Dozens of U.S. Olympic National Governing Bodies have reported incidents of sexual abuse of athletes.
- Sexual misconduct claims in U.S. Olympic sports rose 55 percent between 2018 and 2019.
- The Center for SafeSport is now receiving an average 239 reports of sexual abuse per month.
- Congress has held hearings and issued reports.
- But Congress has not yet legislated a solution.
- Every day of inaction, the abuse continues.
Cosponsors (17): DeGette, Brooks, Lamborn,
McAdams, Panetta, Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Burgess,
Norton, Rush, Rutherford, Neguse, Connolly,
Jackson Lee, Thompson (CA), Dingell, Crow
United States Olympic Committee Athletes Advisory Council, USA Track and Field Athletes Advisory Council
Endorsing Olympians and Individuals
- Col. Michael T. Harrigan, USMC (Ret.), President’s Commission on Olympic Sports, Executive Director
- Rob Koehler, former World Anti-Doping Agency Director of Education, current Director General of Global Athlete
- Rosemarie Aquilina, 30th Circuit Court Judge, Ingham County, Michigan (Sentenced Larry Nassar to Life in Prison)
- Nancy Hogshead-Makar, 3x Olympic gold medalist, CEO of ChampionWomen
- Caroline Lind, 2x Olympic gold medalist
- BJ Bedford, Olympic gold medalist
- Norm Bellingham, Olympic gold medalist, former Chief Operating Officer of the USOPC
- Mark Henderson, Olympic gold medalist, Athletes Advisory Council Chair (2005-2009)
- Moushaumi Robinson, Olympic gold medalist
- Janusz Peciak, Olympic gold medalist, former Team USA Pentathalon Head Coach
- Sarah Will, 12-time Paralympic Medalist and Olympic Hall of Fame inductee
- Troy Dumais, Olympic bronze medalist
- Bob Balk, 6x Paralympian medalist
- Keith Sanderson, Three-time Olympian
- Katie Uhlaender, 4x Olympian and World Champion
- Greta Neimanas, Paralympian
- Sarah Elijah Scherer, 2x Olympian
- Bill Roy, Olympian, former Chief Operating Officer of USA Shooting,
- Sam Kavanagh, Paralympian
- Eli Bremer, Olympian
- Jeff Olson, 2x Olympian
- Cale Simmons, Olympian
- Nathan Schrimsher, Olympian
- Jim Galanes, 3x Olympian
- Benjamin Barger, Olympian
Wall Street Journal: DOJ
Investigating Sex Abuse Within Olympic Organizations
Wall Street Journal: Gymnastics Federation’s Payments to a Linked Foundation Is Under Scrutiny
“Documents show USA Gymnastics transferred millions of dollars into a closely linked foundation in the years before legal challenges related to sexual assaults triggered a bankruptcy filing”
Wall Street Journal: USA
Swimming Faces Probe Into Sex-Abuse Claims, Business Practices
“Prosecutors look into ‘money trail’ between the national swimming organization, its insurance firm and affiliated foundation”
Colorado Springs Gazette: EDITORIAL: Gardner-DeGette bill protects US athletes
“Then-President Gerald Ford established the U.S. President’s Commission on Olympic Sports in 1975. The commission’s in-depth study led to the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978. Over 41 years, the U.S. Olympic structure has grown beyond its small and
humble beginnings. It is time for renovation.”
Over the past several decades, the Olympic movement has strayed from its roots. The time is now to take a serious look at the USOPC and if it is fulfilling its mission as outlined by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act. As several Congressional and private
investigations revealed, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials were more concerned with protecting the Olympics brand and producing medals than athlete’s health and well being. The time is right to take an Olympics wide accounting of the
underlying culture that lead to the multiple sexual abuse scandals plaguing the Olympics community.
A Congressionally mandated Commission will allow experts in sports governance, coaching, child welfare and abuse to address these issues in a timely manner, free from politics.
In September 2016, Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast, made the first accusations of sexual abuse against Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics national team doctor, Larry Nassar. Since then, over 250 women and girls have accused Nassar of abusing
them. After three separate criminal convictions, Nassar will serve a minimum of 100 years in prison as a result of his actions, which went unchecked for far too long. Prior to the Nasser scandal there were additional reports of similar conduct in multiple
sports, including swimming, taekwondo, figure skating and many more that failed to gain popular attention.
Scope of Commission
Once established, the Commission shall conduct a study on matters relating to the state of the United States participation in the Olympic and Paralympic games, including:
- An assessment of whether the board of the USOPC includes diverse members, including athletes.
- An assessment of participation levels in the Olympic and Paralympic movement.
- An assessment of the USOPC licensing agreement.
- An evaluation of the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and USOPC responsiveness to athletes.
- An assessment of whether the United States Center for SafeSport has the resources to adequately respond to cases of bullying, harassment, sexual assault in sports under USOPC jurisdiction.
- An assessment of whether the United States Center for SafeSport has the proper authorities to audit and provide oversight of the USOPC and NGBs.
- An assessment of the finances and financial organization of the USOPC.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has its power vested in a federal charter that was granted by Congress in 1950. Prior to 1972 Munich Games, The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the U.S.
Olympic Committee all competed with one another to find the best talent for competitions. In 1975, President Gerald Ford, after witnessing Team USA lose the overall medal count to the Soviet Union in 1972, established the Presidents Commission on Olympic Sports
to reform the U.S. Olympic Movement and put Team USA under one organization. Since 1978, Congress, which has jurisdiction over the USOPC due to the federal charter, has only exercised sporadic oversight of the Olympic movement, with the most recent revision
to the Amateur Sports Act occurring over 20 years ago in 1998.
Please reach out to Matthew Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202)-225-4431 in Rep. DeGette’s office if you have any questions or would like to become a cosponsor.
Diana DeGette Susan Brooks
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Doug Lamborn Ben McAdams
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0