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United States Olympic Committee

U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is a non-profit organization that serves as the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and National Paralympic Committee (NPC)[1] for the United States and coordinates the relationship between the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency and various international sports federations. Under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, the Committee is chartered under Title 36 of the United States Code. Despite this federal mandate, it receives no continuous financial assistance from the U.S. government. As a non-profit organization, the USOC is wholly dependent on private contributions and corporate sponsorship.[2]



As a NOC, the Committee supports American athletes in general and Olympic athletes in specific and selects and enters athletes for participation in the Games of the Olympiad, Olympic Winter Games, and Pan American Games. Each individual Olympic Sport has a National Governing Body, supervised and funded by the USOC, which administers that sport and selects the athletes for the games. The Committee provides training centers, funds, and support staff to elite athletes.

The USOC also acts as the United States representative for all Olympic matters, including for the evaluation cities that are prospective nominees to host an iteration of the Olympic Games; the Committee ultimately submits a bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on behalf of a selected city.


Upon the 1894 founding of the IOC, the two constituent American members, James Edward Sullivan and William Milligan Sloane, formed a committee to organize the participation of American athletes in the Games of the I Olympiad to be contested two years later in Athens, Greece. The Committee operated under various names until it acquired its present name in 1961. It subsequently assumed responsibility for some training of American participants in the Paralympic Games.

Congress provided a special charter for the Committee as well as due process rights for athletes in the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. The act gave exclusive rights of usage of the words "Olympic" and "Olympiad" to the Olympic Committee.[3] The Committee used this act to sue other organizations which used this term "Olympics", such as the Gay Olympics. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Committee's rights.

The United States Olympic Committee Paralympic Division, U.S. Paralympics, was formed in 2001. The USOC Paralympic Division leads the preparation and selection of athletes to U.S. Paralympic Teams. U.S. Paralympics also works through education, sports programs and partnerships with community organizations, medical facilities and government agencies.[4]

In 2006 the USOC created the Paralympic Military Program with the goal of providing Paralympic sports as a part of the rehabilitation process for injured soldiers.[5]

In October 2007, the ARCO Training Center in Chula Vista, California (see below) was closed temporarily due to the Harris Fire, one of many that ravaged southern California.[6]

In February 2011 the USOC launched an anti-steroid campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council called Play Asterisk Free aimed at teens. The campaign first launched in 2008 under the name Don't Be An Asterisk.[7]


The Committee is led by a ten-member board of directors composed of corporate executives, representatives from certain national sports federations, and former Olympic athletes. On October 2, 2008, Larry Probst was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors. He replaced Peter Ueberroth, the president of the committee that organized the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, contested in 1984 in Los Angeles, California.[8] On March 5, 2009, Stephanie Streeter was named Acting Chief Executive Officer.[9]

Fundraising efforts

The USOC asks for contributions from time to time using public service announcements and other direct solicitations. Also, some proceeds from sales in its online store benefit the committee.

Unlike some other organizations, it does not have telethons or other prominent fundraising events. The only known telethon in USOC history was Olympa-Thon '79, which took place on NBC from primetime on April 21 through late night on April 22 in 1979. Participants included the reunited duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, O.J. Simpson and various Olympians. NBC used the event not only to raise funds to the USOC, but to promote its coverage of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Of course, the USOC then boycotted the Games and NBC aired only a few hours of coverage on an ad hoc basis.[10] In addition, WBZ-TV in Boston and KYW-TV in Philadelphia chose to air a series of documentaries about the Olympics by filmmaker Bud Greenspan in lieu of the telethon. Both stations frequently pre-empted network shows in those days, as did most Westinghouse-owned TV stations prior to their switch to CBS in 1995.


There has been some financial conflict between the USOC and International Olympic Committee (IOC), with some pointing out the frequent leadership changes of USOC, and USOC trying to broadcast the Olympics using its own television network, which the IOC discouraged. USOC president Peter Ueberroth allegedly stonewalled a negotiation between IOC and USOC to discuss the revenue sharing of the US broadcasts with IOC. The failure of the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic bids[11] was partly blamed by some on USOC.[12][13][14] For instance, NBC television executive Dick Ebersol said after the failed 2016 bid, "This was the IOC membership saying to the USOC there will be no more domestic Olympics until you join the Olympic movement".[15]

USOC has also been criticized for not providing equal funding to Paralympic athletes, compared to Olympic athletes. In 2003, a lawsuit was filed by American Paralympic athletes Tony Iniguez, Scot Hollonbeck and Jacob Heilveil in 2003.[16] They alleged that the USOC was underfunding American Paralympic athletes. Iniguez cited the fact that the USOC made health care benefits available to a smaller percentage of Paralympians, provided smaller quarterly training stipends and paid smaller financial awards for medals won at the Paralympics. American Paralympians saw this as a disadvantage for Paralympic athletes, as nations such as Canada and the United Kingdom support Paralympians and Olympians virtually equally. The USOC did not deny the discrepancy in funding, but contended that this was due to the fact that it did not receive any government financial support. As a result, it had to rely on revenue generated by the media exposure of its athletes. Olympic athletic success resulted in greater exposure for the USOC than Paralympic athletic achievements. The case was heard by lower courts, who ruled that the USOC has the right to allocate its finances to athletes at different rates. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court,[17] who on September 6, 2008 announced that it would not hear the appeal. However, during the time the lawsuit had lasted (from 2003 to 2008), the funding of Paralymic athletes nearly tripled. In 2008, $11.4 million was earmarked for Paralympic athletes, up from $3 million in 2004.[16]

In the run-up to the 2012 Summer Olympics, it was discovered that the American uniforms for the Games' opening and closing ceremonies, designed by Ralph Lauren, were manufactured in China. This sparked criticism of the USOC from media pundits, the public and members of Congress.[18]

Training facilities

The grounds of the training facilities in Colorado Springs.
The grounds of the training facilities in Colorado Springs.
The USOC operates Olympic Training Centers at which aspiring Olympians prepare for international competition:


The USOC administers a number of awards and honors for individuals and teams who have significant achievements in Olympic and Paralympic sports, or who have made contributions to the Olympic and Paralympic movement in the U.S.[19]

  • USOC Athlete of the Year - Awards are given annually to the top overall male athlete, female athlete, Paralympic athlete, and team, from among the USOC's member organizations.
  • USOC Coach of the Year - Awards are given annually to the top national, developmental, Paralympic, and volunteer coaches, and for achievement in sports science.
  • U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame - The Hall of Fame honors Olympic and Paralympic athletes, teams, coaches, and others who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the U.S. Olympic movement.
  • U.S. Olympic Spirit Award - This award is given biennially to athletes demonstrating spirit, courage, and achievement at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Media coverage

The USOC's only official contract is with NBC Universal for coverage of the Games. Contracts to air Olympic trials and national championships are negotiated by the national governing body for each sports, but most agree to carry the trials on NBC Universal-affiliated networks.

In 2009, the USOC and Comcast announced plans for The U.S. Olympic Network, which would have aired Olympic-sports events, news, and classic footage.[20] However, the USOC met opposition from the International Olympic Committee, which preferred to deal with NBCU (and its then-new Universal Sports joint venture).[21] Since then, Comcast has purchased a majority share of NBCU. Meanwhile, there has been no news about this network since mid-2009 and the status of this concept is uncertain; however, it may be merged somehow with Universal Sports now that they are co-owned.

See also


External links

ar: cs:Olympijsk v bor Spojen ch st t americk ch de:United States Olympic Committee es:Comit Ol mpico Estadounidense eo:Usona Olimpika Komitato fr:United States Olympic Committee hi: it:Comitato Olimpico degli Stati Uniti nl:United States Olympic Committee ja: pt:Comit Ol mpico dos Estados Unidos tr:Amerika Birle ik Devletleri Olimpiyat Komitesi

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