Congress to Introduce Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019

From the

Following an 18-month inquiry into the factors that enabled USA Gymnastics’ former team doctor to sexually abuse more than 300 athletes over a two-decade span, a congressional subcommittee Tuesday will introduce legislation designed to ensure the safety of Olympic and amateur athletes ­going forward.

In broad stokes, the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019, if approved, would mandate significant reform of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee governance structure in three key areas:

- Increasing the legal liability for the USOPC and the 47 individual sport-specific governing bodies under its umbrella, such as USA Gymnastics, for incidents of sexual abuse by coaches and employees. In addition, the USOPC would be required to maintain a public list of all banned coaches, to ensure they are not simply rehired elsewhere. Moreover, Congress would have the right and means to dissolve the ­USOPC’s board of directors for failure to fulfill its oversight responsibility, as well as to decertify individual sports’ governing ­bodies for their failures.

- Giving athletes a larger voice in the governance of the USOPC and in their respective sports. Specifically, the representation of athletes on the Olympic committee’s board would increase from one-fifth to one-third. Athletes’ representation in each sport’s governing body would also increase to the same level, from one-fifth to one-third.

- Strengthening the Center for SafeSport, which was created as an independent, nonprofit clearinghouse and advocate for ­Olympians and would-be Olympians who feel they are being physically, mentally or sexually abused. The bill would require the USOPC to provide the center $20 million per year to do its work more effectively. Moreover, to ensure the center’s independence, employees of the USOPC or individual sports’ governing bodies would be barred from serving at the center, to guard against improper interference.



GAISF Publishes GA Preliminary Working Documents

May 10, 2019 - Gold Coast, Australia.

The GAISF (General Association of International Sports Federations) General Assembly has released and published an agenda and accompanying preliminary working documents detailing GAISF’s positions on the IOC Athlete Safeguarding Toolkit, the .sport internet extension, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), DFSU (Doping Free Sport Unit), Multi-sport games such as the World Urban Games, World Combat Games, World Mind Games and the World Beach Games which show unity between Olympic and non-Olympic sports that might not yet have an opportunity to enter the Olympic programme. The working documents also cover ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF, and AIMS in addition to going into detail about statutory changes and proposed amendments to those statutes, and provide a glimpse at the 2019 Administration Activity Report. Currently, the GAISF is composed of 95 Members, 20 Associate Members and 10 Observers. USA Sports Council Member Sport Federation ICU Cheer (International Cheer Union) is also a Member of GAISF.

The Working Documents and Agenda also bear the name and contributions from late GAISF President and member of the international sports family, Patrick Baumann, a reminder of the goodwill and collaborative spirit he brought to the world of sports.


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What Caster Semenya IAFF Discrimination Case Means for Women and Sport

South African athlete Caster Semenya has lost her discrimination case against the International Association of Athletics Federation, which has found that forcing athletes with high levels testosterone to lower them is "discriminatory but necessary".

From the BBC: “The 28-year-old Olympian had challenged the IAAF over its decision to restrict testosterone levels in female runners for distances between 400m and a mile.

Semenya, who has won the last 29 of her 800m races, was born with intersex traits - meaning her body produces atypically high levels of testosterone.

The ruling means she will have to take testosterone suppressants if she wishes to compete in these shorter events.

Three sports judges in Switzerland have taken more than two months to reach this verdict - indicating the sensitivity and complexity of the case.

Depending on your point of view, the situation seemed clear-cut - whichever way you want to look at it.

Supporters of Semenya argue that the runner has been penalised for no other reason than the biological traits that she was born with. She has not cheated, or found to be taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Kyle Knight, a researcher in the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch said that taking the proposed IAAF testosterone suppressants would be as "humiliating as it is medically unnecessary" for female athletes whose hormone levels are outside accepted boundaries.

And in 2019, the spectrum of identity stretches beyond the binary, say human rights activists. So shouldn't Semenya's physical abilities be celebrated the same way as Usain Bolt's height and Michael Phelps's wingspan are?”


"I'm just being Caster. I don't want to be someone who I don't want to be. I don't want to be someone who people wants to be. I just want to be me."

"I'm just being Caster. I don't want to be someone who I don't want to be. I don't want to be someone who people wants to be. I just want to be me."