Independent third party audit of athlete safety at US Biathlon
Please check back here for updates on the review.
Last week the Associated Press published an article about a SafeSport investigation involving a U.S. Biathlon athlete and a former contractor who was a member of our technical support program. While U.S. Biathlon was not the subject of the investigation, we recognize that the wellbeing of athletes was adversely impacted. For that we sincerely apologize, and we are committed to strengthening our culture, oversight, and safeguards against future occurrences.
The Board and staff at U.S. Biathlon have heard points of view from many stakeholders about athlete safety and team culture and we want to share what we are doing to address them.
The Board met earlier this week and voted to engage an independent third party to audit U.S. Biathlon from an athlete welfare and safety perspective. This independent contractor will thoroughly evaluate our current athlete wellness practices and team culture, identify gaps, and provide recommendations on sustainable improvements and the implementation of latest best practices in line with the work of the US Center for SafeSport, Biathlon Integrity Unit, and the USOPC.
We have appointed Rachel Steer to chair an athlete-led panel that will finalize the scope of the audit, interview and select the auditor, and act as the liaison during this project. Rachel is currently Vice Chair of the Board as an athlete representative and was a National Team athlete from 1999 to 2006 and a member of the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Teams. The panel’s composition and work will be fully transparent, with documentation made available via a dedicated section of the US Biathlon website. The panel will work with the auditor to present the findings of the audit and monitor implementation. We will announce the complete panel the coming days, with the goal of retaining the auditor and initiating the review within 30 days.
In the meantime, US Biathlon will continue to diligently implement the U.S Center for SafeSport Code and its respective policies, along with its own Safe Sport, Background Screening and Minor Abuse Prevention Policies. We encourage any athletes who wish to learn more or report abuse to visit usbiathlon.org/safesport for information regarding its SafeSport, Background Screening and Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies, reporting tools, the SafeSport helpline, parental consent forms, and more. U.S. Biathlon has zero tolerance for retaliation. To find out more, visit US Biathlon | Policies & Forms.