Facing criticism and lawsuits over its role in the growing sex abuse scandal within organized sport, the U.S. Olympic Committee has named former FBI human resources executive Wendy Guthrie as its senior director of athlete safety.
The USOC has faced harsh criticism, with many claiming it ignored or covered up reports of sexual abuse by well-known coaches. A lawsuit focused on Taekwondo recently likened the situation to sex trafficking, alleging that the USOC was profiting by forcing athletes to train with renowned coaches who had faced claims of sexual abuse by former pupils.
Along with the resignation of CEO Scott Blackmun, the USOC has put forward a number of proposals and actions aimed at improving athlete safety. The organization says it has “aggressively pursued new ways to help prevent and respond to abuse, and enhance athlete safety,” and that Guthrie’s hiring is “another step” in that process.
Her new role will focus in on athlete safety. Per the USOC press release, Guthrie will “lead the implementation of all USOC athlete safety policies and procedures, work closely with NGBs on their athlete safety efforts, and lead continued training efforts throughout the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community.”
Guthrie most recently worked for the FBI as its senior executive of human resources. She had been with the FBI for six years. Previously, she had worked in college athletics, as the interim commissioner of the Northwest Conference and the chief of staff at the West Coast Conference. Guthrie has also worked for Seattle University’s athletic department as well as the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.
She begins her new post with the USOC today, the press release says.