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USOC announces new CEO following nationwide search - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

USOC announces new CEO following nationwide search

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

There's a new woman in charge of the US Olympic Committee.  The board announced the selection of Sarah Hirshland to lead the organization following a nationwide search. Hirshland said in a conference call with reporters that she was honored to be selected.

"To be invited to lead the Olympic and Paralympic movement in the United States, to be associated with Team USA and to have the privilege of serving America's athletes is an absolute dream come true for me."

Hirshland is the current CEO of the US Golf Association and previously served as an executive with the sports marketing group Wasserman. While she's excited about this opportunity, she told reporters that she's aware of the serious challenges she'll face leading an organization mired in multiple sex abuse scandals.

"We must be able to provide athletes the benefit of participating in an environment free from abuse and one in which they can truly achieve the best version of themselves," Hirshland said. 

She said she believes the key to creating a lasting culture change in any organization is for leaders to listen to their members.

"I am committed to the practice of being a very good listener and I know that that's what it takes to be successful in managing and guiding a cultural transformation that we need to continue," Hirshland said.

Hirshland is taking over for Interim CEO Susanne Lyons who was appointed by the Board of Directors following the resignation of Scott Blackmun in February. Blackmun, who was recovering from a cancer diagnosis, said his decision was based on his health. However, Blackmun had also come under increasing pressure to step down amid the investigation and conviction of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

Since his resignation, new allegations of abuse have surfaced in USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo among others.  Lyons pointed out new mandatory reporting policies and other reforms put in place during and after Blackmun's resignation.

"We are now taking a much harder look at our own oversight of those activities and putting in place a lot of compliance requirements to that ensure that things are reported and that people do understand that that is an important part of the culture to listen and to report so that these sort of things do not happen again," she said.

Hirshland will begin her new job here in Colorado Springs at the end of August. Lyons will resume her duties on the USOC Board of Directors.

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