US Olympic and Paralympic Committee awards Sarah Hirshland a 5-year contract extension as CEO

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced Wednesday it was giving a five-year contract extension to CEO Sarah Hirshland in a move that will keep the executive in her role through the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

In a letter addressed to the USOPC community, chairman Gene Sykes said Hirshland’s “accountability, transparency, and inclusivity has transformed our organization.”

“Notably, she has prioritized athlete protection, rights, and support, ensuring a safe and empowering environment for all,” Sykes wrote.

Financial terms of the contract, which will run through 2029 when it is finalized, were not disclosed. According to the USOPC’s most recent financial disclosures, Hirshland made $1.1 million in “reportable compensation” in 2022.

Hirshland took a voluntary pay cut when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of sports in 2020 and delayed the Tokyo Olympics by a year.

She was criticized for some parts of her handling of the pandemic, and also for the response to the sex-abuse crisis she inherited when she took the job in August 2018.

Ultimately, Hirshland played a key role in negotiating the $380 million settlement between the USOPC, USA Gymnastics and the hundreds of gymnasts abused by Larry Nassar. She also led a reset of the federation’s mission, focusing more on the overall well-being of athletes, many of whom complained they were valued only for the results they produced.

Hirshland also was behind the scenes in the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games by one year instead of scrapping them altogether, which was a very real possibility in the early days of the pandemic.

A full cancellation of the Olympics would have had devastating financial consequences on the games across the globe, but particularly in the U.S., which does not give government money to finance the movement.

Hirshland’s next main project will be to gear up for the Los Angeles Games, which will mark the first Summer Olympics on American soil since 1996.


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