Athlete Rights And Responsibilities
This information is intended to simplify and support Team USA athlete education around a complex system of rights and responsibilities within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Learn more about your rights as a Team USA athlete by referring to the applicable laws or governance documents.
If you have a specific concern or situation, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for guidance or reach out to any member of the network of support listed below.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) wants Team USA athletes to feel empowered and aware of their rights as athletes and the many support systems in place to assist in navigating resources.
The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act and the USOPC Bylaws outline certain rights, protections, and responsibilities for Team USA athletes. This microsite is an educational overview of those rights, protections, and responsibilities for various members across the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, including the USOPC, National Governing Bodies (NGBs), and Team USA athletes.
Using this resource, Team USA athletes can learn about their rights, protections, and resources in the following areas:
- Access to Information: The documents and resources that must be publicly available and can be accessed by athletes.
- Voice & Representation: The ways in which athletes are represented and how their voices can be heard across the Movement.
- Equity & Diversity: The protections athletes have against discrimination.
- Opportunity to Participate & Team Selection: The rights and protections that help ensure athletes have access to a fair and defined selection process as they attempt to qualify for Team USA.
- Safe Environment: Protections that create safe competition spaces and safeguard athletes on and off the field of play.
- Grievance & Dispute Resolution: The process by which athletes can file complaints and have those complaints resolved.
- Athlete Responsibilities: The policies and agreements by which Team USA athletes must abide.
It is important for all members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community to understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure a healthy ecosystem where everyone is informed and accountable. If you have a specific concern or situation, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section of this microsite or reach out to any member of the network of support below.
This information can be overwhelming. Team USA athletes are certainly not on their own as they navigate and learn about their rights, protections, and responsibilities. Whether Team USA athletes just want to learn more or are confronted with a situation or concern regarding their athlete rights, there is a network of support available to athletes to help answer questions and ensure they understand their rights.
- Athlete Ombuds: Offers independent, confidential advice to elite athletes regarding their rights and responsibilities and assists athletes with a broad range of questions, disputes, complaints and concerns.
- Team USA Athletes' Commission: Serves as the representative group and voice for Team USA athletes. Each sport elects a representative who, in addition to the leadership team, can help you navigate questions, concerns or feedback on any topic affecting Team USA athletes.
- USOPC Athlete Services Team: Helps navigate contacts at the USOPC and connects Team USA athletes to the right resources and benefits. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- National Governing Bodies: Recognized to oversee each sport in the U.S. with unique governing documents, and to support athletes on the pathway to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- USOPC Mental Health: Resources and services available to Team USA athletes who need to seek mental health assistance.
There are several documents that outline governing rules, policies, and procedures. Federal law sets minimum requirements. The USOPC writes bylaws to uphold those requirements and certifies NGBs for meeting those requirements. For the purposes of this educational material, we have pulled from a few key documents:
- Ted Stevens Olympic & Amateur Sports Act: The Act is a federal law that gives the USOPC the responsibility to coordinate and develop amateur athletic activity in the U.S. and organize U.S. participation in the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games Pan American and Parapan American Games.
- USOPC Bylaws: The USOPC bylaws outline how the USOPC is organized and structured, including how complaints are handled, representation requirements and more.
- Other additional policies and NGB bylaws may be referenced.