10.01.20

U.S. House Passes 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. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed 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. Following passage by the U.S. Senate in August, Gardner’s legislation now heads to the President’s desk to become law.

“When an American takes the podium draped in the Stars and Stripes, we take pride in knowing our Olympians represent the best athletes in our country. But we also know we must do better to support our athletes in the broader Olympic and Paralympic ecosystem, which is what this bill will help do,” said Senator Gardner. “Establishing this 16-member commission, at least half of whom will be Olympians or Paralympians, will give athletes a seat at the table and ensure the U.S. Olympic Committee’s presence in Colorado grows even stronger. I look forward to this Commission applying the Olympic-level dedication that inspires the world to improving the USOPC and the state of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics.”

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.

Background:

  • The U.S. Senate passed Gardner’s legislation to establish a blue ribbon commission dedicated to improving the USOPC with athlete input in August 2020.
  • In December 2019, Gardner and U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) authored ajoint 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 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.

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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.