A letter from Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, on racial and social protests

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Dear Team USA athletes –

Today, as promised, we are sharing the next phase of a collaborative effort between the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice and the USOPC that defines respectful racial and social justice-themed demonstrations allowed in trials. US Olympic and Paralympic.

I would like to thank all of the members of the Racial and Social Justice Council – athletes, NGB and USOPC staff, and external experts – who have dedicated their time and perspective to this process. When you presented your recommendations in December, they reflected specific themes of social injustice and inequality prevalent in our society and addressed the direct and personal impact of these themes on the lives of America’s elite athletes.

You have also made it clear that there is a deep desire for Team USA athletes to speak out on these issues and to lead as a positive force in our community.

This Trials Guide sets out the latitude for athletes to express their personal views on racial and social justice in a respectful manner, and without fear of sanction from the USOPC.

It is clear that this subject is important. Following our announcement of an updated approach to athlete demonstrations, I received an incredible array of opinions directly from members of the Olympic and Paralympic movements – and many others outside the movements – representing our local, national and international communities. .

While we support your right to protest peacefully for racial and social justice, we cannot control the actions others may take in response.

However, I can pledge USOPC’s support for the following:

  • Fair application of these guidelines during our Olympic and Paralympic team trials;
  • Evaluation of this guide before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games;
  • Creating opportunities through Team USA platforms to promote America’s elite athletes and their commitment to racial and social justice;
  • Education through the Team USA community town hall to promote dialogue and provide a fundamental understanding of the rules of the trials, as well as future engagement opportunities for athletes to share their first-hand experience.

As seen in this education video, the demonstration experience can lead to positive change, benefits and progress, and this can have emotional or financial consequences.

I am confident that you will make the best decision for you, your sport and your competition.

Our Olympic and Paralympic community, including former athletes, current athletes and future generations of hopefuls, is unique in its diversity – in terms of race, gender, origin and outlook – but we are united as as members of Team USA and we are a powerful force for good. .

This defines the latitude for athletes to express their personal views on racial and social justice in a respectful manner, and without fear of sanction from the USOPC.

With appreciation,

Sarah Hirshland
CEO
American Olympic and Paralympic Committee


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