Aquilina, Olympians back USOC oversight push in Congress

Michigan

DENVER (AP/WLNS) – The judge who sentenced former sports doctor Larry Nassar to prison and a group of Olympians are backing an effort to create a committee to look into the operations of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

They joined Colorado’s U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette in Denver Monday to announce the planned introduction of the bipartisan bill Tuesday in the House. It mirrors one introduced in January by Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the Senate, a standard practice in Congress. It would set up a panel of 16 people, half of them Olympians or Paralympians, with subpoena power.

“Our committee’s investigations found that these officials were more worried about the committee’s finances and reputation than they were about our athletes’ safety,” Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado said. “When the very body that Congress created to care for our athletes becomes more concerned about winning and protecting a brand, than the athletes themselves, then it is time for a change.”

The Denver Post reports the commission would have the power to look into the USOC’s finances, licenses and responses to sexual and physical assaults. It would also be able to subpoena people to testify. The Post reports the committee would be together for a year, and would need to produce a report within nine months.

“This is why I’m here, to keep the conversation going so that we never forget the importance of protecting our athletes,” Aquilina said.

It comes six months after a congressional report in the wake of the Nassar case recommended a review

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