Now styled US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the body objects to being held accountable for its abominable handling of the sexual abuse of so many of its athletes for so long—indeed for its active suppression of complaints about those abuses. The Senate Commerce Committee voted to send to the floor for debate and vote a bill that would authorize
Congress to vote to dissolve [the USOPC] board of directors and terminate any national governing body, which run specific sports within the U.S.
USOPC Chief Executive Sarah Hirshland had sent the Committee a letter threatening objecting to that:
[USOPC Chief Executive Sarah] Hirshland had told members of the Senate Commerce Committee: “The International Olympic Committee has made clear that Congress assuming the power to dissolve the USOPC board would violate the Olympic Charter and endanger our recognition by the IOC as a National Olympic Committee.”
Hirschland had gone further:
The International Olympic Committee has made clear that Congress assuming the power to dissolve the USOPC board would violate the Olympic Charter and endanger our recognition by the IOC as a National Olympic Committee.
In the end, the Committee called her bluff.
One of Hirschland’s few supporters, though, was Senator Mike Lee (R, UT) who made his usual libertarian-esque argument that
Washington had no right to act as judge, jury and executioner over the committee…and that the US should hold itself to higher standards than China in the operation of its Olympic movement. He also said that passing the bill would heighten IOC scrutiny on the US committee.
Because the IOC is such a paragon of virtue, too.
I often agree with Lee, but here, he’s mistaken. The protection of our children from predators is one area where the Federal government must play a role, albeit not exclusive of the States’ equally necessary role. I do agree with him, though, that we should hold ourselves to higher standards than those the People’s Republic of China employs in the operation of its Olympic movement. This bill is a step in that direction.