Regarding Sally Jenkins’s March 1 Sports column, “A painful legacy of knowledge, inaction and misplaced priorities”:
The resignation of U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun is good, but this fix doesn’t go far enough. The sexual abuse scandal is only one sign of the dysfunction and neglect that have marred this insular group for years. I was a member of the 1984 U.S. track and field team.
The USOC hauls in about $300 million a year, and our athletes should be awash in support. Yet we hear of Olympians resorting to food stamps, part-time jobs and loans from family as they train to represent our country. Though professional athletes typically get 50 percent of revenue, the USOC spends 10 percent or less of its massive revenue on direct support of athletes.
The USOC’s senior executives and board members should step down. Congress should appoint an outside overseer, cap staff salaries and demand an independent audit of the USOC and the 47 “National Governing Bodies” of individual sports. Most important, Congress should mandate that 50 percent of broadcast fees be passed directly to Team USA athletes and top coaches for income, training, health insurance and medical care.
August L. Wolf, Boca Raton, Fla.
The writer is a trustee of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation and founder of the
U.S. Athletic Trust, which supports individual athletes with training, equipment and grants.