U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Athletes' Advisory Council announces new officer positions and leadership team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council announced its new officer positions that were confirmed during the AAC’s first meeting of the year on Feb. 6.
Olympian Bree Schaaf (bobsled, skeleton) has been selected as the council’s chair, while two-time Paralympic medalist Chuck Aoki (wheelchair rugby) and two-time Paralympian Greta Neimanas (Para-cycling) were named the council’s vice chairs. Three-time Olympic champion Tony Ervin (swimming), Olympian Mark Ladwig (figure skating) and Olympian Cody Mattern (fencing) complete the leadership team as at-large AAC representatives.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank all of the athletes that have entrusted their support to this new leadership team,” said AAC Chair Bree Schaaf. “This newly appointed group has a great depth of experience in supporting athletes’ rights, and brings the passion and integrity crucial to athlete representation. I would also like to thank Han Xiao, our outgoing chair, for his tireless efforts in enhancing the role of the council. We have been left with a solid foundation that we will continue to grow for the benefit of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes. We look forward to continued athlete engagement and working with all stakeholders for the benefit of American sport.”
The new leadership group was elected during the AAC’s October meeting during the 2020 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Assembly, and the officer positions were approved by a vote of the full AAC membership this month. The outgoing leadership team, including Han Xiao (chair), Sam Kavanagh (at-large), Nick LaCava (at-large) and Moushaumi Robinson (at-large), dedicated years to enhance the experience and support of America’s elite athletes across the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
“We are grateful to Bree and Cody for continuing to serve the Athletes’ Advisory Council for another term, and excited to welcome four new members who bring distinct perspectives and important experience to the group,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “We thank the outgoing leadership for their work and commitment, and look forward to continuing our close partnership with the AAC to ensure strong communication and collaboration with Team USA athletes as we advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements.”
The AAC leadership team’s full biographies can be found here.
Bree Schaaf, Athletes’ Advisory Council Chair
Schaaf was re-elected to the Athletes’ Advisory Council leadership group after she began serving as the AAC second vice chair in 2017. She recently finished a six-year term as an elected athlete representative to the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation board of directors. Schaaf was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Bobsled Team from 2007 to 2014 and competed on the U.S. National Skeleton Team from 2003 to 2007. She started working as a color commentator in 2009 and joined the NBC Olympics team as their skeleton analyst and sliding sports correspondent at the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. A dedicated athletes’ rights advocate, Schaaf works professionally as the program manager for Global Athlete, a progressive athlete-led startup movement aiming to inspire athletes and drive change across the world of sport.
Chuck Aoki, Athletes’ Advisory Council Vice Chair
Aoki was elected to an AAC leadership role after serving as an AAC representative since 2017. Aoki is a two-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair rugby and helped lead Team USA to the silver medal at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. Off the field, Aoki is a Ph.D student at the University of Denver, focusing on comparative politics, international relations and civil-military relations. He was named the United States Wheelchair Rugby Association Athlete of the Year in 2011 and 2019, and is currently training for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Greta Neimanas, Athletes’ Advisory Council Vice Chair
Neimanas has served as an AAC representative since 2013 and has been selected for leadership. She is a two-time Paralympian (2008, 2012) and two-time world champion (2013, 2015) while competing with the U.S. Para-cycling team before retiring due to injuries. Neimanas is a cycling coach for Mind Right Endurance and her focus is on military sport programs with the U.S. Navy’s Wounded Warrior Cycling Team. She additionally serves as an athlete representative on the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice.
Tony Ervin, Athletes’ Advisory Council Representative
Ervin is a three-time Olympic swimmer and helped Team USA to three Olympic golds and one silver, as well as four world championship medals. Ervin assumes his leadership role after serving as an AAC representative since 2016. He serves on the Athlete Voice and Advocacy steering committee on the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice, is a founding member of the Black Leaders in Aquatics Coalition, and is a member of USA Swimming’s national team athlete and international relations committees.
Mark Ladwig, Athletes’ Advisory Council Representative
Ladwig joins the leadership team after serving as an AAC representative since 2013. Ladwig competitively trained to be a pairs figure skater and represented the United States at the Olympic Games Vancouver 2010. He has been active in U.S. Figure Skating’s governance since 2007, including two years as the organization’s Athletes’ Advisory Council chair, four years on the board of directors and three years on the nominating committee.
Cody Mattern, Athletes’ Advisory Council Representative
Mattern began serving a second term on AAC leadership in 2021 after holding a leadership position since 2016 and starting as a representative in 2008. Mattern is a world champion fencer and was part of the first men’s team in history to win gold at a world championship. He represented Team USA at the Olympic Games Athens 2004. Mattern is a Fencing Master at Northwest Fencing Center in Beaverton, Oregon. He served four years as an athlete representative and four years as a vice president on USA Fencing’s board of directors.