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AAC Representative Mary Weeks

USOC Athletes Advisory Council: Working to broaden communication between active athletes and the USOC

USOC AAC serves as a source of input and advice to the USOC Board of Directors in order to accomplish its mission:


communicate the interests and protect the rights of athletes, in cooperative support of the USOC achieving its mission.” As your USOC AAC represen-

For those of you who don’t al-

ready know me, my name is Mary Elsass Weeks and I will be serving as your United States Olympic Committee Athletes’ Advisory Council representative for the next quadrennial. I am a former rifl e resident athlete and mem- ber of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit.

I retired

from competitive shooting in 2004 to attend law school. I ran for the USOC AAC representative position because I missed hav- ing a personal connection with our sport and with the Olympic movement. I thought the position would allow me to give back to a sport that has given me so many opportunities.

The job of the USOC AAC is to broaden communication be- tween the USOC and active ath- letes. It is composed of athlete representatives from each Olym- pic and Pan-American sport, athlete representatives from the Paralympic Sport Organizations or NGBs designated to govern a Paralympic sport and athlete representatives elected by the USOC AAC to serve at-large. The

tative, I also serve as a voting member of the USAS Board of Directors along with your current discipline representatives: Jason Turner for pistol, Janet Raab for rifl e and Josh Richmond for shot- gun. Finally, I serve as a voting member of the USAS Executive Committee, which conducts im- portant USAS business in be- tween regular meetings of the Board.

Since I assumed my role as

AAC representative earlier this year, I have had a signifi cant number of athletes approach me with what I believe are serious and legitimate concerns about the direction USAS is headed and how we as athletes can ef- fect positive change within the organization.

Many of these

concerns were refl ected in the task force investigation that was mentioned in last month’s article written by USAS immedi- ate past president, Gary Ander- son. I ultimately agreed with the other members of the Executive Committee to retain our current Executive Director, but I want to be clear that I did so only re- luctantly and on the conditions that we put a succession plan in

12 USA Shooting News | July 2013

place, make changes within the organization to improve com- munication and restore athlete trust, and ensure that we had some way to measure our prog- ress. I thought it was important for me to show to the Executive Committee that I was willing to give the organization a chance to work through some of the is- sues I saw refl ected in the ath- lete complaints before we made a change in executive leadership. Over the next four years, I am committed to working with USA Shooting to foster an environ- ment where athletes feel com- fortable expressing their hon- est opinions about the policies, procedures and decisions that affect their athletic careers and where athlete input and feed- back is given strong consider- ation. I think there are at least three components to creating this environment: (1) Providing a means for athletes to raise concerns in a way that requires timely, substantive feedback; (2) Increasing and improving the input athletes provide to USAS; and (3) Allowing athletes to play a larger role in evaluating the decisions made by the organi- zation that directly affect them. Your athlete representatives will be working closely with USAS to implement ideas that we’ve had and ideas that you, as athletes, have shared with us to further these goals. We are already taking ac- tion to increase athlete input at

USAS. The USAS Bylaws provide for a USA Shooting Athletes’ Ad- visory Committee, consisting of the USOC AAC representative, discipline representatives and alternate representatives—Emil Milev, Brenda Silva, Mike Anti and Terri DeWitt. Much like the USOC AAC, the USAS AAC will serve in an advisory capacity to the USAS Board of Directors to help ex- pand communications between USAS and the athletes and to serve as a source of opinion and advice to the Board of Directors. In addition to the USAS AAC,

we are forming an Athlete Panel that will be composed entirely of active athletes from all dis- ciplines who can also serve as a source of input to the USAS staff on policies, procedures and other matters. This Athlete Panel will also play an important role in communicating the athletes’ perspective to the staff of USA Shooting. As your USOC AAC repre-

sentative, I believe I have the responsibility to communicate the athlete voice to USAS. I take that responsibility very seriously and I am genuinely interested in hearing your questions, concerns and ideas.

Please free to con-

tact me at shootingaac@gmail. com. I look forward to getting to know more of you and working on behalf of the athletes over the next quad.

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