Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Diana DeGette (First District of Colorado)
Oct 31, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A key piece of legislation, originally introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), to reform how the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committees operate was signed into law last night.
The legislation calls for the creation of an independent, blue-ribbon commission to study – and eventually help reform – how committees operate in the wake of several high-profile sexual-abuse scandals that had raised doubts about the organization’s ability to care for our nation’s top athletes.
Under the terms of the newly enacted reform bill, leaders in Congress will soon be required to appoint 16 members to serve on an independent panel that will be tasked with studying and recommending specific changes that Congress should make to improve how the nation’s top sports bodies are being run.
A key provision in the law that was championed by DeGette requires that at least eight of the commission members be either former or current Olympic or Paralympic athletes.
“Our nation’s Olympians dedicate their lives to representing our country on the world stage,” DeGette said. “Today, we are taking steps to ensure the organization created to care for them is doing exactly that.”
Once established, the independent commission will have nine months to report their findings and recommendations on how to improve the USOPC back to Congress.
Among the issues the commission will be asked to evaluate are: how responsive the national governing bodies for each Olympic sport are to its athletes and how athletes can be better represented in the system.
It will also be asked to review the diversity of the USOPC’s board, its finances and whether it’s effectively achieving its stated goals.
Since the allegations against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar first came to light, dozens of former Olympic athletes and USOPC officials have called on Congress to act to reform how our nation’s Olympic committees operate. Those calls grew even louder after investigators revealed that some USOPC officials knew about the alleged abuse but did nothing to stop it.
A copy of the legislation signed into law is available here.