President Signs Gardner’s Legislation to Reevaluate the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee

Would establish a blue ribbon commission dedicated to improving USOPC with athlete input

Washington, D.C. – The President of the United States signed S. 2330, the Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020, legislation that included a bill authored by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to establish the Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics. 

Under Gardner’s legislation, S. 132, the Strengthening U.S. Olympics Act, Congress would establish a 16-member commission, all of whom would be required to have experience in athletics, advocacy, or coaching, and half of whom would be comprised of Olympians or Paralympians selected to study the structure of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and provide recommendations to improve it.

“I applaud the President for signing my bipartisan legislation to help support our Olympic athletes by giving them a seat at the table to improve the USOPC and the state of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics,” said Senator Gardner. “This common-sense bill would create a 16-member commission, at least half of whom would be Olympians or Paralympians, to examine what’s working and what’s not and report back to Congress with their findings, conclusions, recommendations, and any suggested policy changes. This commission will help the U.S. Olympic Committee’s presence in Colorado grow even stronger and make sure we do a better job looking out for the futures of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes. I would also like to thank Senators Moran and Blumenthal for their leadership on these issues and working with me to get this provision signed into law.”

“The USOPC supports the Congressional Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics included in the Empowering Olympians, Paralympians and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the Commission to strengthen the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States,” said Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

“As an Olympic Gold Medalist and Colorado resident, I’m thrilled to see this important legislation pass. I’m also extremely grateful to Senator Gardner for helping lead this bipartisan effort to support US Olympians and Paralympians,” said Klete Keller, 5x Olympic Medalist.

“For years, US Olympians have been asking Congress to help reform the broken Olympic system. Senator Gardner was the first member of Congress to run legislation aimed at fixing the system and helping Olympians. Today, Olympians can celebrate a new era for the Olympic Movement as a result of this bipartisan legislation passing. I’m profoundly grateful to Senator Gardner and the other Congressional members who helped make this happen,” said Katie Uhlaender, 4x Olympian and World Champion in Skeleton.

“I applaud the passing of this important legislation with substantial bipartisan support.  US Olympians and Paralympians asked Congress for help, and Congress came together to help fix problems in the US Olympic and Paralympic system. Today is a significant day for Team USA and for the United States of America,” said Han Xiao, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Athletes' Advisory Council Chair.

“As the last Olympian to serve in the Senate and a good friend of the late Senator Ted Stevens who authored the law governing the Olympics, I’m thrilled this bipartisan legislation has passed and been signed into law. I also applaud my good friends Senator Cory Gardner and Congresswoman DeGette for their leadership of this bipartisan effort that is so important to Colorado and the United States,” said Ben Nighthorse Campbell, former U.S. Senator and Olympian.

“Four years ago, I met with Senator Gardner and asked him to take a leadership position on the troubled US Olympic system which badly needed reform. In response, Senator Gardner’s staff began researching problems in the Olympics and crafted the first legislation in decades aimed at reforming the system. Today, a version of the legislation has become law. This would never have happened without the support of Senator Gardner who worked with members of both parties to earn bipartisan support for this legislation. I applaud Senator Gardner and his bipartisan leadership!” said Eli Bremer, Olympian, Air Force Academy Graduate, Colorado Native.

“My professional life has been dedicated to advocating for the rights of women in sports. For the last decade, I have been working with the Olympic Committee, National Governing Bodies, the U.S. Center for SafeSport and survivors of sexual abuse and violence in the Olympic Movement, trying to fix a broken Olympic system. The Olympic Movement was not interested in self-correcting. When Senator Gardner and Congresswoman DeGette teamed up to sponsor bipartisan legislation, I saw Congress taking the long-standing Olympic governance problems seriously, and I have been proud to stand with them. I applaud the bipartisan leadership that has been the hallmark of crafting and passing this legislation to empower our American athletes and fix our system going forward,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D., 3x Olympic Gold Medalist.

The commission established by Gardner’s legislation would study the structure of the USOPC and determine whether or not the USOPC board includes diverse membership, provide the status of existing licensing and funding arrangements, ensure oversight of sports' National Governing Bodies, and bolster the recruitment of the Olympic and Paralympic games to the United States, along with other duties. The commission would submit a final report to Congress with their findings, conclusions, recommendations, and any suggested policy changes.


  • In October 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Gardner’s legislation to establish a blue ribbon commission dedicated to improving the USOPC with athlete input, following passage by the U.S. Senate in August 2020.
  • In December 2019, Gardner and U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) authored a joint op-ed in the Colorado Springs Gazette on the importance of the Strengthening U.S. Olympics Act to give athletes a say in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) structure.
  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, of which Gardner is a member,advanced Gardner’s legislation to establish the Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics in November 2019.
  • In June 2019, Gardner, Representative DeGette, and Judge Rosemarie Aquilina – who presided over the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar – and nearly a dozen former Olympic athletes held a press conference in Denver to discuss Gardner and DeGette’s legislation.
  • Representative DeGette introduced companion legislation to Gardner’s in the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2019.
  • In January 2019, Gardner introduced legislation to establish the Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics.


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.