The Office of the Athlete Ombuds and its staff (the Athlete Ombuds) offers independent, confidential advice to athletes regarding their rights and responsibilities in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and assists athletes with a broad range of questions, disputes, complaints and concerns. The Athlete Ombuds’ focus is to serve athletes who represent the U.S. in international competition. The Athlete Ombuds operates on the core principles of confidentiality and privacy, independence, and impartiality.
DUTIES OF THE ATHLETE OMBUDS
1. Provide independent, confidential advice and assistance at no cost to athletes.
2. Assist in the resolution of athlete concerns and disputes through fact-finding, facilitated communication, and mediation.
3. Advocate for fair, transparent, timely and equitably administered policies and processes within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and its member organizations.
PRINCIPLES OF THE ATHLETE OMBUDS
CONFIDENTIALITY and PRIVACY
1. The Athlete Ombuds maintains as confidential any information communicated or provided in confidence in any matter involving the exercise of their official duties.
2. The Athlete Ombuds will not testify or produce evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding with respect to any matter involving the exercise of their official duties.
3. The Athlete Ombuds treats all work product, memoranda, notes or case files as confidential. Such information is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion, and is not admissible as evidence in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
4. The Athlete Ombuds maintains and prepares data and/or reports in a manner that protects confidentiality and privacy.
5. These confidentiality and privacy provisions shall not apply to:
- Information necessary to communicate, mediate or resolve a concern or dispute, with the permission of the athletes involved;
- Applicable reporting requirements under federal law and/or the policies of the U.S. Center for SafeSport;
- A felony personally witnessed;
- A situation in which an individual is at imminent risk of serious harm;
- A congressional subpoena;
- The general operation and processes of the Athlete Ombuds; and/or
- Responding to an official investigation or allegation concerning the conduct of the Athlete Ombuds in exercising its official duties.
6. The Athlete Ombuds maintains these confidentiality and privacy provisions on their website and distributes to employees of each National Governing Body (NGB) and the USOPC.
7. Each NGB shall publish these confidentiality and privacy provisions on its website and communicate to athletes their availability.
File a concern with the U.S. Center for SafeSport to help keep sports safe for all.
Report a concern to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to help keep sports clean.
The Office of the Athlete Ombuds can help confidentially refer athletes to the help they need.
Athletes are afforded certain protections against retaliation including that no employee, contractor, agent, volunteer, or member of the USOPC shall take or threaten action against an athlete as a reprisal for disclosing information to or seeking assistance from the Office of the Athlete Ombuds. Athletes should report instances of retaliation to USOPC Ethics and Compliance.
Advice from any member of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds, including but not limited to information provided on this website, does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice, nor does any member provide legal representation of an athlete in any capacity. Athletes should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Also, in accordance with the Athlete Ombuds mandate pursuant to the Act to offer independent advice, statements of any member of the office will not be deemed to reflect the views or positions of the USOPC, and the office is not authorized to accept notice on behalf of the USOPC or any other sport organization. All grievances and reports need to be filed directly with the appropriate body (i.e., the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the USOPC, the NGB, USADA, etc.).