The House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to allow the athletes of the US Olympics more protection as well as autonomy for decision making. The bill has now been sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The bill was introduced in response to the sex abuse scandal involving the USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act urges on the need to increase funding for the United States Center for SafeSport.
In addition to this, the bill also demands that better representation should be provided to the athletes in the governing bodies.
If these reforms are not taken into consideration, the Congress will have the authority to dissolve the UOSPC board as well as it can revoke the certification of the NGBs.
In addition to this, the act also includes SafeSport training that will allow athletes to identify abuse as well as offer protection to those who report abuse.
This legislation was presented by Senator Jerry Morgan of Republican Party in collaboration with Senator Richard Blumenthal of Democratic Party. After the Larry Nassar scandal in which more than 150 women came out against him with charges of sexual assault and abuse, the senators started drafting this bill while investigating the matter.
This investigation consisted of interviews with Olympic athletes who came to Washington to share their survivor stories as well as four subcommittee hearings.
The senators believe that the absence of transparency and accountability amongst the US Olympic officials is to be blamed mainly for this crime.
Blumenthal said that these organizations are supposed to protect athletes, however, they have failed to do so constantly and allowed abuse and sexual assault incidents to be covered up.
Since the USOPC and USA Gymnastics have failed to respond to the Nassar scandal in a timely fashion and have not taken immediate action, several people have resigned and filed numerous lawsuits against the organizations.
This has led to oversight by the Congress over the Executive Branch and consequently, these organizations will be subject to constant monitoring, reports, and audits.
The legislation has also requested that a commission should be established to address issues related to the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
The USOPC has begun the implementation of reforms, the first one being increased representation for athletes.