The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has formally changed its name to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee – a change celebrating the athletes of Team USA and the Paralympic Movement in the United States. The USOPC board of directors unanimously approved the change in its quarterly meeting on Thursday (20 June).
“This is a proud day for Paralympic and Olympic sport in the United States and a change that is representative of our organisation’s commitment to inclusivity,” said USOPC Chair Susanne Lyons. “While the name is new, our dedication to Paralympics is an established value – evidenced by the number of Paralympic athletes who receive support and by the strength of the US Paralympic Team. The world-class Paralympic athletes – and staff who support them – deserve this recognition as outstanding representatives of Team USA.”
The name change is effective immediately as seen through updated marks on social and digital platforms. Physical changes to signage at the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Centres, US Olympic & Paralympic Training Sites, US Olympic & Paralympic Committee Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and all associated properties will be made as soon as possible with a goal of completion in 2020. Additionally, the US Olympic Hall of Fame will be renamed the US Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.
“This change is about more than an organisational name. To me this means that Paralympic athletes are fully included, embraced and celebrated by the USOPC,” said four-time Paralympian Oksana Masters. “I have personally felt the growing support for Paralympic athletes and the Paralympic Movement by this organisation. I am so proud to represent the US in competition – and this allows me to take similar pride as a member of Team USA.”
“The decision to change the organisation’s name represents a continuation of our long-standing commitment to create an inclusive environment for Team USA athletes,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “Paralympic athletes are integral to the makeup of Team USA, and our mission to inspire current and future generations of Americans. The new name represents a renewed commitment to that mission and the ideals that we seek to advance, both here at home and throughout the worldwide Olympic and Paralympic movements.”
American athletes have represented the United States in the Paralympic Games starting with the Rome 1960 Games where 24 athletes competed. Most recently, Team USA delivered a record-setting performance at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with a delegation of 73 athletes earning 36 medals.
“This is a historic moment for the Paralympic Movement in the United States,” said Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee. “To see the USOPC make this inclusive statement by changing its name demonstrates the true parallel nature of the Olympic and Paralympic movements. This change lays a strong foundation to transform the Paralympic Movement as we look toward the Los Angeles Games in 2028 and beyond.”
As part of the USOPC’s ongoing effort to elevate the Paralympic Movement and support for athletes, on 21 September 2018, the board voted to increase monetary awards for medal-earning US Paralympic athletes to equal those made to medal-earning US Olympic athletes. With this decision, Operation Gold Awards for U.S. Paralympians were increased by as much as 400 percent. US Paralympians who earned a medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Games received retroactive payments for their performances and the award parity will be reflected in every Games moving forward.
The non-profit USOPC is one of only four organisations in the world to manage both Olympic and Paralympic sport at the national level – and the first to include the distinction in its official name and marks. US Paralympics, a division of the USOPC, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic Movement and promoting excellence in the lives of people with disabilities. Additionally, US Paralympics serves as the National Governing Body for six Paralympic sports.