Senators introduce bill aimed at protecting Olympic athletes in response to abuse scandals

Senators introduce bill aimed at protecting Olympic athletes in response to abuse scandals

Lawmakers have announced a bipartisan bill intended to guard against crimes like those of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar by expanding athlete representation among Olympic sports administrations.

The measure, introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill Senators inch forward on federal privacy bill Hillicon Valley: Dueling bills set stage for privacy debate | Google co-founders step down from parent company | Advocates rally for self-driving car bill | Elon Musk defamation trial begins | Lawsuit accuses TikTok of sharing data with China MORE (R-Kan.), would increase the proportion of athletes on the boards of national governing bodies like the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) from 20 percent to 33 percent.


It would also eliminate a requirement that athlete board members have competed in the last decade and require greater oversight over national governing bodies from the USOPC and require the USOPC to pay the Center for SafeSport, which is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse against athletes, $20 million annually for operating costs.

The measure would also require personnel with the USOPC or any national governing bodies to forward all reports of child abuse to law enforcement and hold USOPC legally liable if they fail to make sure any coaches or trainers found guilty of abuse are banned from work with the Olympic movement.

The bill follows Moran and Blumenthal's 18-month investigation into sexual abuse within athletic institutions that included interviews with sexual assault survivors and nearly 70,000 pages of retrieved documents.

“We have been incredibly moved by the courage of the survivors of abuse who have shared their stories with us and the world,” Moran and Blumenthal said in a statement. “Neither this legislation nor the ongoing, necessary cultural shift within the Olympic movement could have happened without their guidance and leadership.”

“We draw motivation from their unwavering commitment to work with us to prevent the abuse of any young athlete in the future and we thank them for putting their trust in us,” they added. “We will get this bill across the finish line – for them, and for all future athletes, so that they may be able to participate in the sport they love without fear of abuse."

Nassar was sentenced last year to at least 100 years in prison for sexually abusing young girls in his position as a sports physician.