Sally Jenkins Is Asking the Right Questions

Sally Jenkins is one of the most read columnists in the United States. So it's very satisfying for those of us who want significant reform in Olympic sports that she has taken on the fight. 

A month ago, she called for the USOC to be "extinguished" in a blistering column that summarized the fundamental problems we face in Olympic sports. Athletes are not at the forefront of the Olympic movement,  they are for the most part impoverished and scraping by to achieve their dream. Meanwhile  the "blazers" are pocketing huge sums of money.

This power imbalance explains a lot of the worst we have seen in Olympic sports. The system is built to empower from the top down, with the athletes at the bottom.

Jenkins was back yesterday poking more holes in the system.  Although her piece hits some of the same themes, including exorbitant executive pay in comparison to the athletes, there is a piece of this that has far more resonance with the world of swimming specifically. 

Jenkins has heard many times "off the record" from people who want to talk about USOC malfeasance, but fear for their employment and livelihood. Likewise, I have heard on background similarly from many people within USA Swimming. They want to speak out, but they are worried about the professional consequences.

The point that Jenkins makes is excellent- these background admissions alone are enough reason to call for the whole thing (USOC in her case, USAS/ASCA in ours) must have its leadership replaced wholesale and start over. 

We have "good people" on the board who continue to not comment on what has happened or what is going on, and in so doing are only perpetuating a system where we will fall farther and farther behind in the transparency needed to right our ship. 

As it is, even in the current board acts with some transparency at some future date (at this point it is looking like they will drag their feet well into April and beyond. If I had a nickel for every time I'd been told that "something is coming soon/tomorrow" I'd at least be able to pay for a few hours of parking.

So even if and when they get to the bottom of some questions, they will questions to answer about why they were so silent right now, and I've yet to hear a very satisfactory answer for that.

Click here to sign onto a letter demanding greater transparency from USA Swimming.