More than 100 Olympians and Paralympians Are Now Calling for USOC Resignations.

January 11, 2019 Please contact:

Ed Vasquez

408-420-6558 or


(Washington, D.C.)

More than 100 Olympians and Paralympians Are Now Calling for USOC Resignations.

The Olympians are joined by the Army of Survivors and other victims of sexual abuse in sport. The number

of Olympians and Paralympians now calling for USOC resignations has doubled in less than a week, and will

continue to grow. Elite athletes and sport leaders are also now joining this effort.

The Committee to Restore Integrity to the USOC is calling for the near-complete resignation of the U.S.

Olympic Committee board and the senior leadership. The recent Ropes & Gray investigation and the

Congressional House subcommittee report call for profound cultural changes to the USOC; a reorganization

that puts athletes’ interests and their well-being first, rather than corporate or employee interests. The

athletes’ voice in leadership and governance must be a requirement, rather than a PR platitude.

However, this week’s appointment of Rich Bender and re-appointment of Steve Mesler to four-year terms on

to the USOC Board represents a willful blindness to the cultural and structural changes necessary.

In addition, current Board members did not move to reconsider dangerous USOC policies that the Ropes &

Gray and Congressional Reports highlighted; policies that continue to leave athletes vulnerable to abuse and

retaliation. Instead, USOC leadership kept repeating that it was Congress’ fault; that the Sports Act

prevented them from helping athletes, even though that was never true. (See attached legal memo on USOC

near-total authority over NGBs under the Sports Act and the USOC bylaws.)

 Rich Bender has been associated with the NGB Council for a number of years. During this time

Bender aligned himself with Scott Blackmun’s insistence on NGB "self-governance"; an identified

problematic strategy of ignoring athletes that has led to disastrous results. Similarly imitating

Blackmun’s modus operandi, Bender intimidated and insulted athlete-leaders that spoke out against

the USOC’s current culture – and in support of athletes’ rights – during a joint session of the

Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC) and to the National Governing Body Council (NGBC). Bender’s

retaliatory conduct is precisely the problematic institutional response that Ropes & Gray and the

Congressional report highlighted as dangerous. In addition, Bender’s fellow NGB Council member,

Darrin Steele, faced pointed written questioning from Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut after a

subcommittee hearing for playing a similar role in that session. Formal complaints were made about

Bender’s retaliatory conduct, yet the USOC did not investigate these complaints nor did senior

USOC leadership speak to AAC representatives who witnessed his conduct when considering

Bender for the USOC Board position. Finally, Rich Bender has been the CEO of USA Wrestling, an

NGB that is itself out of compliance with the Sports Act.

 Steve Mesler was just re-appointed to another 4-year term, even though he has publicly stated that

he does not represent the athletes in his duties as a USOC Board member. Instead, he hides behind a

fiduciary responsibility to the organization, one that all Board members have, but other members do

not consider it a limitation to their work. While in theory there should be no conflict between athlete

and corporate interests, in reality their interests frequently conflict. Mostly alarming, Mesler

frequently defends the USOC’s cultural status quo. In fact, he has asserted that the USOC will

always do what is in the athletes’ best interest; that cultural changes advocated by the AAC, by the

Ropes & Gray report, by and by Congress are unnecessary. Mesler’s philosophical and practical

positions are inconsistent with his appointment as the ATHLETE REPRESENTATVIVE to the

board. The AAC was not asked for their feedback in the Board’s process to reconfirm Mesler for his

second term. This is in direct contradiction to the USOC’s new public relations insistence on an

"Athletes First" approach.

Together, these appointments demonstrate that the board is functioning without regard to the Ropes & Gray

Report or to Congressional House Subcommittee Report. Worse, the USOC is still functioning without

regard to the interests of its athletes. The athletes, elected by their peers, were not consulted about any of the

new appointments as they were being vetted.

While much of the media surrounding the release of the Ropes & Gray report focused on former CEO Scott

Blackmun’s bold lies to the investigators, (Blackmun did not lift a finger to help either USA Gymnastics or

the athletes), Blackmun’s actions without his lies to Ropes & Gray investigators is actually worse;

Blackmun’s inaction was standard USOC board policy. Athlete-complaints were to be handled by those

inflicting harm on the athlete, their NGB, and, as matter of board policy, athletes were to be ignored by the


Ropes & Gray described the USOC and USA Gymnastics (USAG) as creating an "ecosystem" that facilitated

Larry Nassar’s criminal acts; the organization and individuals ignored red flags, failed to recognize textbook

grooming behaviors, established no boundaries between adults and children, and dismissed clear calls for

help from girls and young women. The USOC "…did not meaningfully involve athletes in decisions or

policy-making; nor did it provide an effective avenue for athletes to raise and resolve complaints involving

sexual misconduct matters." Yesterday’s actions reveal that the USOC is still not including athletes in the

most important decisions and policy-making.

Because of the most recent developments, the Committee to Restore Integrity to the USOC is making the

bold recommendation to remove most of the USOC Board and its Senior Leadership; the USOC has now

proven it cannot reform itself. Despite actual knowledge of real athlete-vulnerability of sexual abuse and

ongoing retaliation, to our knowledge, no member of the USOC board or senior leadership called for a reconsideration of these dangerous USOC policies prior to Congressional and media involvement. No Board

member called upon Congress to rectify any barrier that the Sports Act may have imposed. The USOC Board

paid more attention to lavish employee compensation and perks than to athlete well-being. As such, any

current member of the USOC Board who cannot demonstrate that they opposed the USOC’s official "refuse

to help athletes" policy, should be removed.

Ed Williams, J.D., Olympian, one of the architects of the Sports Act in 1978, and lawyer frequently

representing both athletes and NGBs, said, "The Sports Act mandates not only that athletes be represented on

the USOC Board but that the athletes’ viewpoints be clearly heard. That can only be achieved by the

selection of athlete reps to the USOC Board by the Athletes’ Advisory Council, and not by the selection of

athletes to the Board who the Board believes will best suit its PR purposes. Only when athletes can choose

their own representatives to the USOC Board, will the intent of the Sports Act to have athlete representation

on the Board be fulfilled."

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D., Olympian and CEO of Champion Women, said, "It is disappointing that the

USOC still fails to look inward, even after independent reports demonstrate their culpability in failing to help

athletes. Their two recent appointments to the Board, without athlete involvement, further demonstrate why

they should not be leading America’s Olympic movement. The problem remains; we must strengthen

athletes’ rights against bureaucrats acting with a five-ring-fueled sense of self-importance."

Because the USOC cannot rehabilitate itself, Team Integrity calls on Congressional action to re-write the

Sports Act. It is shameful that athletes are still struggling to get the protections and representation Congress

intended to give them when the Sports Act was first passed in 1978.

Members of Team Integrity include:

Executive Committee:

Ed Williams, J.D., Oly

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D.,


Robert Allard, J.D.

Robert Andrews, MA, LMFT

Jessica Armstrong, J.D.

Eli Bremer, Oly

Chuck Foster, Former USOC


Herman R. Frazier, Oly, Former

USOC Officer

Kathy Johnson Clarke, Oly

Lucila Hemmingsen, J.D.

Micki King, Oly

Jon Little, J.D.

Donna Lopiano, Ph.D.

Charles Milam, former USOC

Board member

Eva Rodansky

Pat Rodowsky

Steven Sexton, Ph.D.

Jennifer Sey

Jennifer Spiegel, J.D.

Olympians, Coaches and Elite


Mary Harvey, Oly

Greg Louganis, Oly

Scott Johnson, Oly

Julianne McNamara, Oly

Ariana Kukors Smith, Oly

Brian Goodell, Oly

Martina Navratilova, Oly

Nancy Lieberman, Oly

Horace Holden, Oly

Pam Shriver, Oly

Bill Stapleton, Oly

Dave Berkoff, Oly

Caroline Lind, Oly

Cynthia Potter, Oly

Taraje Williams-Murray, Oly

Don Barcome, Jr., Oly

Larry Hough, Oly, former AAC

and USOC Officer

Mitzi Kramer Tighe, Oly

Marci Frederick, Oly

Scott Donie, Oly

Cristina Teuscher Fabbri, Oly

Ian Whatley, Oly

Keith Sanderson, Oly

Seth Kelsey, Oly

Bonny Warner Simi, Oly

Sebastian DeFrancesco, Oly

Joe Jacobi, Oly

Sean O’Neill, Oly

Eric Barnes, Oly

Barb Weinstein McGrath, Oly

Debby McCormick, Oly

Nick Peterson, Oly

Jennifer Hooker Brinegar, Oly

Allen James, Oly

Brenda Borgh Bartlett, Oly

Janis Hape Dowd, Oly

Deb Armstrong, Oly

Anthony Zahn, Oly

Andrew Hermann, Oly

Carrie Sheinberg, Oly

Sue Heon-Preston, Oly

Allison Wagner, Oly

Linda Jezek Wittwer, Oly

Inga Thompson, Oly

Tiffany Cohen, Oly

Joan Hansen, Oly

Tracy Evans-Land, Oly

Cathy (Catherine) Hearn, Oly

Betsy Mitchell, Oly

Doug Lewis, Oly

Carrie Steinseifer Bates, Oly

Steve Gregg, Oly

Jack Elder, Oly

Deena Deardurff Schmidt, Oly

Arlene Limas, Oly

Stacey Liapis-Fuchsgruber, Oly

Troy Dumias, Oly

Justin Dumias, Oly

Christopher R. (Tiff) Wood, Oly

Tim Caldwell, Oly

John Morton, Oly

Loren Drum, Oly

Laurel (Brassey) Iverson, Oly

Jay Bowerman, Oly

Richard Mize, Oly

Glen Eberle, Oly

Dennis Donahue, Oly

Megan Neyer, Ph.D., Oly

Erik Henriksen, Oly

Dennis Donahue, Oly

Judy Blumberg, Oly

Tom Lough, Ph.D., Oly

Caroline Pingatore Holmes, Oly

David C. Johnson, M.D., Oly

Dana Schoenfield Reyes, Oly

Pat Winslow Connolly, Oly

Arlene Limas, Oly

Jeff Olson, Oly

Khadevis Robinson, Oly

Jim Galanes, Oly

Keith Frostad, Oly

Victoria King, M.D., Oly

Lynette Love, Oly

Kay Poe Sheffield, Oly

Julia Chase-Brand, Oly

Kendis Moore Drake, Oly

Pete Karns, Oly

Caroline Lalive, Oly

Jeffrey Swider-Peltz, Oly

Cathy Jean Marino, Oly

Alison Owen Bradley, Oly

Horace Holden, Oly

Sue Baker, Oly

Craig Ward, Oly

Bill Koch, Oly

Debbie Meyer, Oly

Jeff Farrell, Oly

Steve Cohen, Oly

John Caldwell, Oly and Oly Coach

Marty Hall, Oly Coach

Don Gambril, Oly Coach

Frank Thomas, Olympic Coach

Art Stegen, National Team Coach

Jacqueline A. Brummer, J.D.

Monica Rowland

Dawn Riley

Sara Teristi

Carmen Small

Sara Teristi

Susie Kincade

Rene Henry

Perry Toles, J.D.

Nate Di Palma

Becca Gillespy Peter

Julie Whitman DeLucia

Levi Kirkpatrick

Athletes Abused in Olympic


The Army of Survivors,

-including Judge Rosemarie


Rachael Denhollander

Morgan McCall

Sarah Klein

Danielle Moore, Psy.D.

Diana Nyad

Jessica Howard

Bridie Farrell

Jancy Thompson

Debra Denithorne Grodensky

Dani Bostick

Mandy Maloon

Melissa Merson

Olivia Venuto

Danielle Moore, Psy.D.

Louise Harder

Grace French

Sarah Power Barnard

Kay Rogness

Julie Bremner Romias

Lisa Johnson

Sarah Ehekircher

Michele Kurtzman Greenfield

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