WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced her appointments to the Commission on the State of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC Commission), including her pick for co-chair.
“The USOPC exists to protect athletes and uphold the integrity of sport,” said Chair Cantwell. “There are many issues that plague sports, from unequal pay and treatment to sexual abuse. Having the right members on this Commission ensures that these issues can be properly addressed and remedied, so that Olympic and Paralympic athletes can feel safe in their sports environment. Jordyn Wieber, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, and Benita Fitzgerald Mosley are all iconic Olympians who are using their knowledge and experience in the sports world to advocate for diversity and inclusion, and against abuse and inequality. Dionne Koller is a sharp legal mind well-practiced in the issues surrounding Olympic and amateur sports. I am proud to be nominating these women to the Olympics and Paralympics Commission today.”
The USOPC Commission is a product of the Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act that passed on November 2, 2020. It directs the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee to each appoint four members to the USOPC Commission. The USOPC Commission must conduct a study reviewing recent USOPC reforms and must submit its findings and recommendations to Congress. As Chair, Senator Cantwell nominated the following individuals:
Dionne Koller will serve as co-chair of the Commission. Dionne Koller is a professor of law at University of Baltimore School of Law, where her scholarly focus is on Olympic and amateur sports law. She is the Director for the Center for Sport and the Law and former Chair and current member of the Executive Board of the Association of American Law School’s section on Sports and the Law. Professor Koller also serves as a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board and provides pro bono support for Olympic Movement athletes.
Jordyn Wieber is an American Olympic gold medalist gymnast and currently the head coach of the Arkansas Razorback gymnastics team—the youngest individual to currently hold that position. She won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Her accomplishments include being a gold-winner for the 2011 World Championships for the individual all-around title and bronze medalist on the balance beam. Wieber is an advocate for the survivors of sexual assault and testified at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on systemic abuse in sports in 2018.
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, a Track and Field Olympic Gold Medalist who currently serves on the International Olympic Committee’s Active Society Commission, is Head of Community and Impact for sports technology company LeagueApps and a member of the board of directors for Athletes for Hope. She was a member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic track and field teams, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles, and is known for promoting diversity and inclusion across all levels of sport. Fitzgerald Mosley also spearheaded the establishment of the USA Track and Field Coaches Registry, Code of Conduct, and universal background checks.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar is a two-time Olympic swimmer and three-time gold medalist. She is a civil rights lawyer and professor of sports law known for her advocacy for athletes’ rights. She is the recipient of numerous honors for her work fighting against athlete abuse, and for gender and racial equality in sports. She currently serves as the CEO of Champion Women, which provides legal advocacy for girls and women in sports. She was actively involved in congressional proceedings on sexual abuse within the Olympic movement and is a leader in many USOPC reform groups.
Senator Cantwell is a strong advocate for fair treatment and pay of athletes competing on the global stage, particularly female athletes. In July of 2019, Cantwell introduced the Equal Pay for Team USA Act to ensure equal pay for Americans who represent the U.S. in global athletic competitions, like the World Cup or the Olympics. In August of that same year, Senator Cantwell introduced a resolution calling on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to immediately eliminate gender-based pay discrimination between male and female soccer players. And in 2020, Cantwell introduced a bipartisan resolution in support of the 34th annual “National Girls & Women in Sports Day” to recognize the achievements of women athletes. She also met with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team star Megan Rapinoe to discuss equal pay.