USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - WEATHER - WE PUT ATH­LETES FIRST Su­sanne Lyons, act­ing CEO U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee

Au­gust Wolf’s col­umn in USA TO­DAY, “U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee has run off the rails. Time to re­fo­cus on putting ath­letes first,” mis­rep­re­sents our or­ga­ni­za­tion, which is solely fo­cused on sup­port­ing, pro­tect­ing and em­pow­er­ing ath­letes.

Ath­letes are at the cen­ter of ev­ery de­ci­sion made at the USOC — one of the only na­tional Olympic com­mit­tees that is not fed­er­ally funded and also sup­ports par­a­lympic sport — and to sug­gest oth­er­wise is false.

To achieve the suc­cess that in­spires our coun­try and al­lows ath­letes to re­al­ize their dreams, we must be stew­ards of our hard-earned rev­enue. More than 80% of that rev­enue sup­ports ath­letes with stipends, in­sur­ance, tu­ition as­sis­tance, ac­cess to train­ing cen­ters and world-class ser­vices, and fund­ing for sports or­ga­ni­za­tions. Ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­penses ac­count for just 6% of the bud­get, with the re­main­ing 12% used to raise mil­lions of dol­lars via mar­ket­ing and fundrais­ing — all of which is de­tailed in an­nu­ally re­leased fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments.

We care deeply about the ath­letes we serve. Half of our vol­un­teer board is cur­rently com­prised of ath­letes, and more are part of our staff. To sug­gest that we aren’t ath­lete-fo­cused and that our job could be done by a ma­chine is a gross mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Colorado Springs

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