USRowing has announced that it will work to address athlete concerns about training climate, mental health and other issues by requesting the assistance of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to review these concerns. As part of this review, the current US national team setup will be assessed by the law firm Arent Fox, and this assessment will include the evaluation of athlete interviews and statements by the law firm.
"The well-being of athletes has and always will be a foundation of our mission to champion participation and the passionate pursuit of excellence in rowing," said USRowing CEO Amanda Kraus in a statement. "USRowing has been taking specific steps to ensure a competitive culture where athletes can thrive in a safe and healthy way for the last year, after having received expressions of concern from some athletes. Among other steps, USRowing requested an outside perspective from USOPC and we welcome that assistance in the form of this independent review. We encourage our athletes and personnel to participate in the review and cooperate as much as possible and we look forward to getting valuable feedback as a result."
The email sent by Kraus to US National Team athletes appears below.
I hope this email finds you well.
At USRowing, we are proud of all we have and continue to accomplish, but we also always strive to continue improving as an organization. Over the course of the last year, USRowing has received feedback from athletes about the national team training culture. In keeping with our mission "to champion participation and the passionate pursuit of excellence in rowing," USRowing has carefully considered that feedback, whether it be positive or negative, and has taken steps internally to begin the process of addressing certain concerns that have been raised.
We have also enlisted external resources to continue that process. In the interests of transparency and to help us continue to move in a positive direction, I wanted to bring an upcoming development to your attention. The USOPC has offered to assist USRowing in this process and has engaged the law firm Arent Fox, a leader in the sports law field, to conduct an outside review and assessment of our national teams and provide any recommendations they have to help us ensure our goal of a healthy and successful competitive culture.
The details of the review, including its scope, methodology and timing will be set forth in a letter from Arent Fox that will be delivered to you by the USOPC in the next few days. We are looking forward to working with the USOPC and Arent Fox on this assessment and are eager to learn how we can improve as an NGB to offer the best athlete experience we can.
The USOPC and USRowing will share the findings and recommendations of the Arent Fox report with the coaches, athletes, staff, national team alumni and the broader rowing community.
In the meantime, we encourage you to participate in Arent Fox's review so that we receive the most comprehensive feedback possible. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, you can direct them to me or to our counsel.