The USG should fund Team USA

"Unlike most other nations, the United States does not have a sports ministry. The USOC was reorganized by the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, originally enacted in 1978. It is a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and does not receive federal financial support (other than for select Paralympic military programs). Pursuant to the Act, the USOC has the exclusive right to use and authorize the use of Olympic-related marks, images and terminology in the United States. The USOC licenses that right to sponsors as a means of generating revenue in support of its mission."  Wiki on USIOC


 IMO the Congress of the United States should act to create a sports ministry or an agency with the same function within the present government of the US.  I don't know how many countries make their Olympic teams scrounge for money to train, travel and live but the US should not be among them.

It is absurd that the strongest power on earth does not seriously spot and groom the young for world class competition.  It is equally absurd that working class families should undergo severe financial hardship in supporting athletes who will bring glory to the United States.

As to practicalities:

I would suggest application of the funds resulting from the present licensing of logos, etc to the new program as well as an ability for tax paying Americans to make a small contribution to this program in the income tax process.  This is now possible with regard to the raising of funds to support federal election campaigns.  IMO many Americans would gladly contribute $5 for such a purpose. 

The Department of Defense has many installations that either will be abandoned to the developers or that are presently empty. I suggest that some of these could be rehabbed and dedicated to the tenancy of the US Olympic Committee.   Governor's Island in New Youk Harbor might be one such place for summer sports.  Another could be found in the Rocky Mountains or Alaska.  pl

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33 Responses to The USG should fund Team USA

  1. jon says:

    Excellent suggestions. I’d also recommend reinstituting the prohibition on the participation of professional athletes, with stronger strictures than had previously be in effect.

  2. b says:

    Looks like USOC has enough money and is highly profitable
    Total income $262,985,000
    Program expenses $144,098,000
    Fund raising expenses 19,820,000
    Administrative expenses 14,322,000
    Other Expenses 14,035,000
    Total expenses $192,275,000
    Income in Excess of Expenses 70,710,000
    Beginning net assets 290,446,000
    Ending net assets 361,156,000
    Total liabilities 113,982,000
    Total assets $475,138,000
    Those numbers are from 2010.
    By end of 2012 total assets were $532 million, net assets were $407 million. That are lots of assets that could be put to use without any trouble and without creating a new bureaucracy.

  3. kxd says:

    I am quite surprised to learn that the USG does not fund the US Olympic Team. I had just always amused it was the case. For me it says a lot about the athletes and their supporters that Team USA has always produced champions in spite of the lack of Government funding. I find it quite commendable.

  4. Bill H says:

    Jon: Yes. The “Miracle on Ice” was awesome and exciting because it was a bunch of amateurs playing over their heads and pulling off something that no one thought they could do. I still get an electric thrill down my back remembering it.
    Today, watching a bunch of professional NHL players from different teams who have not even practiced together long enough to pull off a standard three-on-two rush with decent timing, I just say to heck with it and switch channels to watch curling, which is still done by amateurs who have full time jobs.
    PL: San Diego has a USOC training center and I go down once in a while to watch training competitions. These young people are dedicated and amazing. They deserve better than we give them.

  5. turcopolier says:

    Admirable but foolish. pl

  6. turcopolier says:

    You are just being argumentative as usual. I think that so much money in the hands of a not for profit business is a standing temptation to graft. In fact the money does not find its way dependably to the athletes for support especially early in the process of formation of young people.and since USOC is a private group, little can be done about that outside the government. How does Germany deal with Olympic funding. pl

  7. turcopolier says:

    “Sport is financed by means of state funding and state contributions, voluntary service, private sponsors and membership fees” wiki on “Sport in Germany”
    In the USA we are missing the “state funding and state contributions” part. That is what I want to correct. pl

  8. nick b says:

    Perhaps admirable and effective?
    Looking at the overall Olympic medals awarded from 1896 to 2012, according to wikipedia, The USA is the leader by far. From my reading of the table, only one country has a greater number of medals, and only in the winter Olympics: Norway. The US Olympic effort appears quite dominant as it is.

  9. b says:

    in Germany most of the sport is done on a private non-profit volunteer level in local clubs though usually public venues are made available for them. I have long helped in such as a trainer. The state funding is usually restricted to the venues – the clubs (and trainers) get nothing. When someone is getting into serious international competition range some additional mechanisms may kick in. One of the federal level, sport specific non-profits (mostly financed and organized by the local ones below it) may then offer professional training. The Olympic committee in Germany is mostly living from commercial sponsors. It offers training venues and trainers. Such trainers may be on the state payroll. Either as university teachers or within the army. The army has a battalion size group dedicated to Olympic level sports (the reason the army was formally doing this is to keep the athletes in a status of “amateurs” while giving them fulltime to train). That is, to my knowledge, the only place where the state comes in besides creating and paying for venues.
    The bit that the states and the federal level do for sports in Germany is mostly restricted to keeping up the venues. There is no federally organized and payed sports organization like you envision.

  10. turcopolier says:

    nick b
    perhaps effective but still profoundly unfair to average Americans. In any event, the control of that much money by a non-profit business is an open invitation to sharks to make a few million bucks on the next Olympic city. The shark for whom I worked for ten years in a for profit business used to say that here is no business so profitable as a not for profit business. in working for him I dealt with many and he was right. pl

  11. nick b says:

    From my point of view, it makes US Olympic victories that much sweeter. The fact that our system is perhaps less fair, comparatively, to our athletes, and yet we continue to produce a greater number of champions. Still, I can imagine that Olympic athletes, and their families who bear the burden, might feel quite differently.
    As for corruption/graft, you and I both know the private or non profit sectors have no monopoly in this regard.

  12. kxd says:

    Where I live we have something called the English Institute of Sport which is a facility funded/managed by the local city council. It caters to multiple sports and events and was used by our British athletes in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. I believe our city’s most notable star, Jessica Ennis, trained there herself. It is a brilliant facility, I regularly gym there and always see events going on and it seems to cater to the local community very well, offering the youth ample opportunities in way of sports and other activities. Personally I think it’s an excellent boon for the city and I’m glad the council funded it. Perhaps local cities and States in the U.S. could look to facilitating their own projects that ultimately aid Team USA if the Federal Government doesn’t want to ‘carry the torch’. If nothing else, I think such projects are great for local communities in any case.

  13. Fred says:

    Without a sponsor many young capable athletes are denied the coaching and monitorship of our ‘chosen’ connected ones.

  14. walrus says:

    Col. Lang, I have to strongly disagree with your suggestion of State funding for American Olympic athletes on a number of grounds. I suggest instead that America use its diplomatic capabilities even to the extent of sanctions, to give effect to the ideals of Baron de Coubertin by restricting competitors to be truly amateurs and precluding State funding in all its forms. God knows America has the tools to do this.
    As far as I am concerned, Olympic competitors who have the benefit of State support are no more than expensive trained meat – professional entertainers, not sportsmen. In my opinion there is more “sport” in a backlot baseball or basketball game than in entire national leagues. The Olympics these days are just “entertainment” except for me when I know I am watching a true amateur competing.
    THe essence of the attraction of sport is that the public or large sections of the public can identify and aspire to participate themselves, even if only vicariously because they can see that with a little talent and a lot of personal sacrifice and effort, they might have participated themselves or at least attempted to qualify. State sponsorship crushes that dream.
    We have serious State sponsorship of Olympic sport here in AUstralia via a Government funded “Australian Sports Commission” and “Australian Institute Of Sport” and a rotten diseased creation it is because basically it is about “picking winnners”.
    Of course what happens then is that potential challengers to the anointed “winner” never eventuate because the elected “winner” has much more resources at their disposal then a potential challenger. These resources include: access to scholarships, access to sports psychologists, one on one training with selected coaches and mentors in The Australian Institute Of Sport, subsidised world class equipment, access to overseas competions, etc. etc.
    To put that another way, once a “winner” has been selected from his or her particular age cohort, the rest of the local competitors can forget about ever even dreaming of competing in an Olympic event.
    Furthermore it doesn’t stop there. We have had the spectacle in both the summer and winter Olympics of seeing has been “winners” make the teams on the strength of past performance, even though everyone agrees they have no hope in hell of winning an event – thus keeping young emerging talent from building their own experience. For example this **** kept out a young person with potential and a career in front of them.
    Other sports are dominated by particular families who seem to have a knack of getting their offspring into the olympics. As for Olympic Administration, I know One or Two high level Olympic “administrators” who have repulsive personalities like the rest of that organisation.
    Of course the most repulsive thing about the whole circus is the endless articles seriously asking what is our “return on investment” from state funding in medal tallies?
    Furthermore, on a more egalitarean level, if State funding is available for sport, wouldn’t that money be better spent on childrens sports programs rather than national ego massages?
    If you wish to fund a medal winning machine by all means publicly fund your competitors, but please don’t confuse that with “sport”.

  15. CK says:

    The military could certainly subsidize the shooting sports, the wrestling sports, the boxing sports, the biathlon, Pentathlon ( maybe another Patton could be produced ), decathlon and all the sailing sports. Take a wee chunk our of one black budget and put it into the new militarized sports sport’s budget.
    That’s just a start, the bureau of immigration could subsidize all the short distance races and the CIA could subsidize all the long distance races, EPA could finance swimming, the Democratic party could subsidize diving. A few new bureaucracies a few changes in minor line items and the US has its very own sports authority.
    No new taxes on those of us who find sport foolish and do not wish to be forced to subsidize even more irrelevancies.

  16. turcopolier says:

    I never liked sports either although my chosen profession required me to participate. “Good for the men to see officers play, etc!” I’m with you. To hell with all of it. Somebody explain curling to me and why is it that all the good looking women do curling? pl

  17. kao_hsien_chih says:

    USOC could act as a central mediating body that manages all endorsements and channels the money from various sponsors to the individual athletes who need the money. NCAA does it. Professional sports bodies (NFL, NBA, MLB) do it (as in they channel money from rich teams to poorer teams and coordinate distribution of tv money, etc. as well as providing for pensions and health insurances for retired athletes who need them.) That USOC is not more closely involved in these activities (and I am a bit surprised that it is not), is a disgrace. I do, however, think that USG could do more to help–not necessarily in terms of money, perhaps, but certainly, via permitting use of gov’t facilities that are no longer in use for training and such.

  18. SAC Brat says:

    USA Shooting is the US minor league for the US shooting sports in the Olympics. We’ve got some good folks out there and are looking for more.
    (Jeez o’petes! You’d think the US would dominate the shooting sports. Reality versus marketing?)

  19. turcopolier says:

    “It offers training venues and trainers. Such trainers may be on the state payroll. Either as university teachers or within the army. The army has a battalion size group dedicated to Olympic level sports (the reason the army was formally doing this is to keep the athletes in a status of “amateurs” while giving them fulltime to train). That is, to my knowledge, the only place where the state comes in besides creating and paying for venues.” That amounts to exactly what I propose. the Bundeswehr carries the athletes on their “books” to make then “amateurs?” Do you realize how hypocritical you sound? . pl

  20. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Ten days ago Democracy Now interviewed Samantha Retrosi, who competed in the Luge event in the 2006 Winter Olympics. She talked about the challenges of making ends meet while training and the one-sided relationship of US Olympic athletes with sponsors.

  21. Fred says:

    The NCAA? The coaches and colleges make millions and the players get essentially zero. The professional sports organizations? They serve the owners’ interests, not the players or the ‘sport’. Give more power to the USOC? That’s just going to make it richer.

  22. turcopolier says:

    The thought occurs that perhaps you were being ironic. If so. I did not “get it.” In any event it seem to me that Germany handles this well. A battalion of the Bundeswehr could have more than 500 people in it with nominal military duties but legal status to be paid the “solde” and allowances of a military person at whatever grade they are given. Perhaps I am being ironic, but, then, perhaps not. pl

  23. CK says:

    One does not have to be anorexic to participate in curling, the required equipment is inexpensive,
    it is a leisurely way to exercise and have a beer simultaneously, and it requires a very modest variation of the skillsets of pool, shuffleboard and house cleaning.
    Good looking women have to do something, might as well curl.

  24. CK says:

    One look at this picture should suffice to explain the team’s invisibility:
    in the summer Olympics. Move shooting to the winter Olympics and you fit right in.
    I don’t think having a lot of guns laying around translates into being able to shoot accurately.

  25. b says:

    you argued for a sports ministry. I think that is overkill and explained how sport promotion is done in Germany.
    The Bundeswehr Sportbatallion has a total budget of some $25 million, i.e. peanuts. The USOC creates about three times that much as additional unused reserve per year. Let them use it for what their primary purpose is.

  26. turcopolier says:

    I prefer your system. USOC has too much money. I am suspicious about what they do with it. The original modern Olympians were all military people. it was a military sports fest. I remember talking to an NVA PW who had been made a Lt. for the purpose of participating in the Olympics in Tokyo. He was a marksman and had served a previous combat tour in SVN as a sergeant. he switched to our side. pl

  27. Bill H says:

    Walrus: You make excellent points and you have sold me.
    Now that you mention it, a figure skater placed fourth in US Olympic qualifications, and third place was bumped to place her on the team because… Well, because she had a better reputation supposedly, or a better chance at medaling, or… Maybe she knew where a body was buried.
    Enforcing it internationally is the rub.

  28. nick b says:

    ex-PFC Chuck,
    Thank you for that. That was highly illuminating. After the interview, I went back and read the article she wrote for The Nation. It’s also worth a read.
    Reading the article I ran across this:
    Which I had not been aware of before. Also worth looking into.
    Thank you again.

  29. nick b says:

    As well as the Army, the Air Force also has a world class athlete program:
    The Navy and Marines have a slightly different path, but are also involved in training Olympic athletes. The Marines have the National Caliber Athlete Program, and the Navy allows athletes to apply through the Navy Office of Sports, and if accepted will receive Olympic training.

  30. turcopolier says:

    nick b
    Yes, i know that the services have training units, but they are for people who are already in the military. the German thing is different. pl

  31. Charles I says:

    Its a slow paced game of incredible intellectual challenge and strategy, in which they who have the most rocks closest to the button at the end of an “end” gets all those points, end to end, ten ends, 80 rocks. It is the only game I am aware of in which the “ball”, upon launch, can have its trajectory continuously changed by post launch input by different players until it arrives at the “goalposts” – the house – and beyond. It is also the only game i know where the ball may be deliberately thrown to miss the net entirely, but rather block it, or other balls. I suppose bocci ball, which i have never played, may contain that element, but not that of independently retargetable warheads. That focus on the unfolding relationship between mind and rock is what gives the game its appeal to me now that I don’t drink. It combines physics with intuition.
    The first time you play it, you will likely be in pain and bow-legged the next day.
    As to the women, who cares what the explanation is, just watch and enjoy the furious concentration. I find it compelling tho I can think of only one context in which I would wish to be the focus of it. Happened to turn the last few ends of the Canada U.S game the other night at 2.30 am and it was exquisite edge-of-the-couch nerve-wracking torture til the very last rock.

  32. optimax says:

    Government subsidies would have allowed my partner and me to continue our synchronized swimming aspirations. We may have even been the first male team to make the Olympics. We invented a move called the William Holden Sunset Strip Float.

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