The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the Athlete Advisory Council held a meeting on August 28 to discuss racial and social justice.
The meeting was attended by 44 members from the two groups, who joined to form the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice. During the meeting, the council discussed some of the barriers to progress and different creative solutions to them.
According to the USOPC, the committee focused on four main areas, including:
- The right to protest and demonstrations, to assess current policies and alternate options.
- Athlete voice and advocacy, to empower athlete voices on Team USA platforms.
- Institutional awareness and cultural change, to review USOPC and NGB diversity and hiring policies.
- Racism and acts of discrimination, to enhance reporting and dispute resolution processes.
At the meeting, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland told reporters, “We are grateful to this group of athletes and thought leaders who have joined the council, lending their perspective and dedication to help us confront the issues of racism and discrimination in sport and society. It is important that we continue this work of elevating athlete voices and addressing limitations within our Olympic and Paralympic community. This past week, we witnessed athletes across the country demand change through both words and actions – showing they are a powerful force in the community. We look forward to coming together as one Team USA to reflect and identify solutions toward meaningful change.”
Several aquatic athletes make up the council including Anthony Ervin, a two time Olympic gold medalist who notably won the 50m freestyle 16 years apart in both 2000 and 2016. He is also the first American of African descent to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming.
Anna Johannes, a Paralympic bronze medalist is also on the council. Johannes competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games as a member of the 4×100 medley relay team that came in third.
Full list of aquatic athletes and administrators on the council include:
- Anthony Ervin, athlete, swimming
- Jamal Hill, athlete, Para swimming
- Casandra Shaffer, athlete, para swimming
- Anna Johannes, athlete, Para swimming
- Sarah Bofinger, athlete, Para swimming
- John Abdou, NGB/HPMO, water polo
- Kelly Fox, NGB/HPMO, diving
- Mariejo Truex, NGB/HPMO, swimming
- Nancy Atufunwa, NGB/HPMO, water polo