Boundary Commission, an independent panel accredited by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, releases one-year progress report


The United States team celebrates winning the gold medal in women’s basketball at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games on August 28, 2004 in Athens.

Atlanta, August 18, 2020 – The Boundaries Commission, an independent panel accredited by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, released a one-year progress report as a full follow-up to its July 2019 recommendations.

In September 2018, the USOPC commissioned the Boundary Commission, an independent panel, to review the organization’s governance strategy and athlete protection policies, including considering whether changes are needed to the policies and procedures of the organization. organization, its statutes and the Olympic and amateur sports of Ted Stevens. Act. Chaired by Lisa Borders, former CEO of Time’s Up and former President of the WNBA, the Commission is assisted by an independent lawyer and composed of nine members, including four athlete representatives, two representatives of the national governing body, two independent members and a USOPC Board of Directors. member.

“In 2018, the new leadership of the USOPC felt it was essential that an independent, athlete-focused commission be created to investigate the underlying issues within our community related to culture, politics We were fortunate to have Lisa Borders leading this effort, and the Commission produced an important and thoughtful roadmap for reform, ”said USOPC President Susanne Lyons. and engage with athletes, while improving the effectiveness of the organizations that also serve them. We know there is more work to be done, and we know that the culture does not change in a matter of months. Our goal is to create a culture where athletes can train and compete in a safe environment that promotes health and wellness in addition to athletic performance.

The Borders Commission’s nine-month review process resulted in five main recommendations:

  • Prioritize athletes: The USOPC must make improvements, both structural and operational, to ensure that the USOPC becomes and remains an athlete-centric organization committed to the protection, service and advancement of athletes.
  • Support and supervise NGBs: The USOPC should develop and provide additional support to NGBs, including shared services and dedicated pipeline funding, while rejecting the past “cash for medals” focus. Specifically, the USOPC shall (i) certify the NGBs, (ii) ensure continued compliance with the full certification requirements of the USOPC, (iii) oversee the corrective actions taken by the NGBs to correct non-compliance issues , (iv) provide for penalties for non-compliance, and (v) serve as an NGB for a given sport where its previous NGB has been decertified.
  • Increase organizational responsibility: The USOPC must set a new standard of professionalism in sports organizations, ensuring accountability, compliance and sustained corporate performance to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes and movements in the United States.
  • Transform organizational behavior: USOPC needs to rethink its culture and staff to prioritize the protection, service and advancement of athletes to ensure a top-notch organization ready to take advantage of the competitive advantage of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Activate congressional surveillance: The USOPC needs to be more transparent in sharing its accomplishments as well as its ongoing challenges, building confidence and garnering support from athletes and the American general public for the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. The Ted Stevens Act must be amended to give the USOPC the explicit power, in addition to the current implicit powers, to better protect athletes and to make the changes necessary to implement all of the recommendations outlined in the report.

In addition to the five main recommendations, the Boundary Commission described a series of implementation steps and sub-criteria on how to implement each recommendation. The one-year progress report details an analysis of USOPC’s efforts to date to track the original recommendations and its implementation steps.

“I am encouraged by the USOPC’s response after a crisis, calling for an outside review of its business model and embracing the candid advice given after the review. It should be noted that all the main recommendations have been accepted and the initial efforts to implement the implementation steps have been made. There is an inherent understanding between the Boundary Commission and USOPC that the work we do here serves a singular purpose: to protect and empower athletes, ”said President Borders.

Borders went on to say, “The 2019 report recommended an organizational change of mind from ‘money for medals’ to ‘people and performance’. The overall theme was to put athletes at the center of every decision, making its mission athlete-centered. ”

Following the recommendations of the Commission, the statutes of the USOPC were amended to allow the direct election of athletes and so that they hold 33% of the seats on the board of directors. NGBs will now be required to have athlete advice. The USOPC has also signed an agreement with the Athlete Advisory Board to provide it with funding for an executive director and other operational areas, allowing the AAC to function as a “voice of the athletes” indispensable for cultural competence and a more efficient organization.

Additionally, the USOPC hired an ethics and compliance officer and established a compliance committee to oversee the accountability and performance of NGBs. Although this is a critical development, the Commission has still identified specific areas with respect to USOPC compliance and CECO reports that need to be improved to meet the recommendations.

The one-year progress report also includes significant improvements in gender representation.

The Commission also recognizes that in order to fulfill the shared mission of protecting and empowering athletes, a series of outstanding diversity goals still need to be met with regard to race, ethnicity and life experience.

Borders also stressed: “The information in the final report required a new business model, active collaboration and radical transparency with all constituencies. Our strategic advice was not a general guide for athlete-centered protocols, but rather a detailed roadmap for a critical transition. What we are seeing now is a willingness to create a more inclusive environment in the decision making process of the USOPC. After reviewing the accomplishments and progress of the past year, there is still work to be done, but the difference is that now everyone is at the table. It is clear that the USOPC has listened, learned and has started to implement important measures, thus leading to a promising new paradigm.

“The work of the Boundaries Commission has been instrumental in our efforts to both assess and improve the experience of athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, and to ensure that the athlete’s desire to achieve l he competitive excellence is accompanied by an environment that fully supports it. -be, on and off the playing field, ”said Sarah Hirshland, CEO of USOPC. “We have taken important steps and are committed to continuing this important work with the help of the Commission and many others who have offered valuable ideas and expertise, to ensure that our community reflects the excellence of the athletes we let’s serve. ”

About the Borders Commission
In September 2018, the USOPC established the Boundary Commission as an independent committee to review the organization’s governance strategy and athlete protection policies, including reviewing whether changes are needed to policies and procedures. of the organization, its statutes and the Ted Stevens Act on Olympic and Amateur Sports. . Chaired by Lisa Borders, former CEO of Time’s Up and former President of the WNBA, the commission includes eight other members currently and formerly independent of the Olympic movement, current and former elite athletes, Olympians and Paralympians and representatives of the NGB. . The Commission also retains the services of an independent lawyer. The main objective of the body is to recommend appropriate and specific changes in the role and engagement of the USOPC with athletes and its responsibilities, oversight and engagement with NGBs.

Commission members and councils:
Lisa Borders (chair); Independent; Former President of the WNBA
Han Xiao; Athlete; President, USOPC Athlete Advisory Council / Elite Athlete (Table Tennis)
Elana Meyers Taylor; athlete; Olympian (bobsleigh)
Mike Schultz; athlete; Paralympian (Snowboard)
Michel Lénard; athlete; Olympian (Team Handball) / vice-president of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport
Renée Chube Washington; NGB; COO, USA Athletics
Ted Morris; NGB; Executive Director, US Speedskating
Lorraine Orr; Independent youth organization; COO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Beth Brooke-Marciniak; USOPC Independent Council
Davis Butler; Independent lawyer; Partner, Butler Mersereau srl

Founded in 1894 and based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is both the National Olympic Committee and the National Paralympic Committee of the United States. The USOPC is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering American athletes. A non-profit corporation, the USOPC does not receive federal financial support (except for certain Paralympic Military Veterans programs) and is one of four NOCs in the world to also manage Paralympic activities.


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