Message to our Community
2019 was a year of listening and transformation marked by a commitment to inclusion, reform, accountability and building an athletes-first culture.
To build an organization as exceptional as the athletes we serve, we spent 2019 listening to our community, changing our culture and implementing a plan that would allow us to better support, serve and partner with athletes. In total, we captured nearly 200 concrete suggestions and ideas to improve—from our athletes, National Governing Bodies, partners, stakeholders and critics. That input has been invaluable in shaping the progress we have made, and in setting our future direction.
Based on this input, and supported by recommendations from independent investigations, we made some of the most sweeping governance changes our organization has ever seen—not for the sake of change, but because we believe it will elevate our mission, global purpose and how we serve our athletes.
We took steps to improve athlete well-being and develop a stronger system of accountability, both within our organization and throughout our community. Honoring that commitment, this report is the start of a new annual process that moving forward will include independent reports from key constituent groups and even further increased financial transparency.
We ended 2019 a very different organization—in culture, in mindset and in how we operate. Ultimately, we ended the year better positioned to steward the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements than we have ever been before.
That began with reaffirming who we are here to serve, and formally changing our name to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to reflect all athletes of Team USA. We embraced an athletes-first mentality, making changes to our mission, our values, our bylaws, our leadership and our structure. And as a result, we are empowering athletes to participate more directly in our decision-making by increasing their representation on our board of directors and better incorporating their voices in our strategic plan.
Throughout, our commitment to competitive excellence was unwavering. Our high-performance support to athletes was greater than it has ever been, and the Pan and Parapan American Games saw Team USA athletes achieve their best performance in 20 years—all while gaining critical momentum for the Tokyo Games.
We enhanced our oversight and accountability of NGBs, and we also worked to support their organizational health and stability—because we value the critical role they play in the development of sport and we know NGBs must be strong to effectively serve Team USA athletes.
We continued to invest in the holistic needs of our athletes, sharpening our focus on providing enhanced support for athlete well-being—including life transitions, career advancement, safety and mental health services. And to ensure athletes have a confidential source of independent advice, we repurposed additional resources to the Office of Athlete Ombuds.
We also elevated our support for the Paralympic Movement, providing absolute parity in Operation Gold awards to Olympic and Paralympic athletes; backed our promise for enhanced financial transparency with a more detailed breakdown of how we invest and allocate our resources; and continued to help the U.S. Center for SafeSport grow in its capability and capacity, while adapting our policies to respond more quickly and decisively when issues occur.
While we have built a strong foundation, serving our community the best we can means that we must always be improving. That commitment to progress requires constant listening, ongoing collaboration and continually seeking new ways of structuring and operating around our athletes-first mentality.
These are important steps, but just that—steps in the process and part of our journey toward excellence. Our new organization direction is laid out in our five-year strategic plan and will be an ongoing partnership with our Olympic and Paralympic community.
Our four strategic priorities—and where you’ll see us invest and make substantive change in the coming years—are focused around creating a better experience for our athletes; improving the effectiveness of all the organizations that serve our athletes; establishing an athletes-first culture; and ultimately preparing for the awesome, transformational opportunity represented by hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in LA in 2028. This is a plan—we are proud to say—that was, for the first time in our organization’s history, co-created by representatives from across our diverse community.
Our mission, together, is to ensure that an athlete’s experience as a member of Team USA is one that each and every individual cherishes, not only in the moments of achievement, but for the positive impact this experience has on the rest of their lives. In doing so, we will empower our athletes to reach their greatest potential—and in turn, they will inspire the best in all of us.