Hirshland Says USOC Will Reform, Be More Accountable Going Forward
USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland believes that the organization "can reform with or without guidance from Congress" as it looks to move past recent scandals, according to Eddie Pells of the AP. Hirshland said that she has "delivered a proposal" to Congress that would "put the USOC on the hook to deliver an annual report, as a way of measuring itself more frequently against its own reform-minded goals." The USOC currently "must deliver a report every four years," but a wave of "sex-abuse scandals in Olympic sports has led Congress to hold a number of hearings over the past two years and consider revisiting the law." Hirshland said that she was "not opposed to congressional input." Some lawmakers "have grown more interested in how the Olympics work" in the U.S., as many athletes have "shared stories about their abuse and the lack of response from agencies that were supposed to protect them." Hirshland said, "We, the Olympic community, collectively failed our athletes. It's a terrible, terrible situation. It goes beyond gymnastics and, quite frankly, goes beyond sports" (AP, 5/22).
STILL WORK TO DO: In Boston, Stan Grossfeld notes Michael Phelps on Tuesday criticized the USOC and IOC for "ignoring mental health issues." Phelps estimated that more than 70% of Olympic athletes "struggle with depression after the Games." He said, "The USOC and the IOC kind of just brushes us under the rug, pushes us aside, and we’ve got a line of kids coming up to fill our shoes. So as long as we performed well, that’s all, in my opinion, they really cared about" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/23).