Notes from Saturday’s AAC General Session, including the Professional Panel, a panel with representatives from WADA, USADA and the new IAAF Athlete Integrity Unit, International Teams for 2018, USOC Report, and a chat with Dawn Harper.
- Panelists: Kimberly Sims, Jill Geer and Aretha Thurmond from the USATF national office, Lance Brauman (Coach), John Nubani (Agent), Lauryn Williams (AAC Treasurer and Director of Professionalism, also a financial planner)
- Moderator: Wallace Spearmon, AAC Vice Chair
- Credentials at IAAF Championships: You cannot share your athlete credential for safety/security reasons. The IAAF can suspend you from the sport for it. Please don’t do this.
- USATF Championships: Not a good idea here either, especially if the person you share it with is a minor.
- Kimberly Sims: Importance of reading the communication coming from the national office via email. If they send you something, it’s important. If we can all work together in an efficient manner, the national office can serve us better.
- Jill Geer: Importance of capitalizing on PR opportunities and working with USATF when they have opportunities for you. Know when to say “Yes.” Examples: Natasha Hastings, Michelle Carter – said “Yes” every time they were asked in Rio, and were rewarded for it. They capitalized on their brand. Prioritize your performance, but make room for PR opportunities while you have the platform. We don’t have that platform very often.
- Lance Brauman on the Importance of Investing in Yourself
- Do you need physio? You have to go on a regular basis and go to someone who is good. Invest the money and make it worth it. If that money results in a contract or medal, it was more than worth it.
- Make sure you look at the money you win and look at what you’ll have to pay coach, agent, physio, etc, as well as taxes. Don’t look at the whole amount and start spending as if that’s the amount you really have.
- Lauryn Williams on Planning for Retirement: You’re going to have 2 retirements: 1 as an athlete, 1 from working at all.
- Paying your Coach: Lance Brauman says he prefers to go through agents to talk money because otherwise it’s a strain on the athlete-coach relationship
- Contracts with Agents: You’re required to sign an Appendix 3 contract with your agent or else it’s not valid. More information on Agents and contracts HERE.
- Importance of doing what you say you’re going to do (Show up at meets you committed to, for example)
- Your earning potential goes up AFTER you win a medal – Lauryn says she did better in 2006 than 2005 because her appearance fee went up after winning the medal in 2005
- Seek knowledge out. Find a veteran athlete and ask questions.
- Queen Harrison brings up a discussion about the transparency of what people are able to command in track and field for appearances. If we are all transparent, we know what we are worth and can command more. Nubbin says that’s up to the athletes.
- Bill Bock – USADA
- There were whistleblowers in 2010 re: what was going on in Russia. WADA didn’t feel like they had enough evidence to address it, so the media did with documentaries, etc.
- WADA “didn’t get it done” when it came to properly testing at Sochi in 2014. Russians were able to switch out samples and take steroids undetected. The reason is WADA was not truly independent
- #MyMoment campaign is a way for athletes to speak out about recently uncovered doping corruption
- Contact him at email@example.com
- Robert Koehler – WADA
- “The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
- Athletes need to come to the table ready to be heard. And we have to start listening to them.
- A Charter of Athlete’s Rights for Anti-Doping. needs to be developed. We are moving forward with that. I’m tired of the pale stale male (and I’m one of them) running everything. We need more diversity. The first round of this will be done by June. We will have a meeting in Alberta. It will be driven by the athletes. And we want to bring it into WADA.
- Guess who everyone is most scared of? The athletes. You are the most powerful voice out there.
- Pyongchang meeting:
- RUSADA is still non-compliant until they 1) accept the findings of the McLaren Report, 2) provide WADA access to the laboratory and access to a system that shows us if they were manipulating results
- If Russia ever happens again, we’re now putting USADA, IAAF, IOC, etc, to the same standards as athletes. They will be held to a code as well and can be sanctioned just like athletes.
- Governance Review: We are working on a way to try to ensure WADA has more independence.
- WADA Speak Up Hotline: Independent investigator that reports to an independent judge. If you think something is going on, report to this line confidentially.
- USADA also has a Play Clean Tip Center
- Brett Clothier – AIU
- Russian athletes were bribed $300K each to cover up their doping
- Out of that came a reform process
- Athletics Integrity Unit was voted on by the 240 member orgs. It’s completely independent from the IAAF
- Corruption of officials, doping, any kind of corruption (age manipulation, etc)
- $8 million annual budget
- We can’t just rely on testing. Intelligence and investigation is important too – the system, the network feeding the doping.
- Another focus is Education.
- WADA: focused globally on all sports
- AIU focused on T&F only. Want to be able to say T&F is the cleanest. Will administer the anti-doping testing that IAAF used to do.
- Website: https://www.athleticsintegrity.org/
2018 International Teams (Aretha Thurmond)
- Aretha Thurmond is the USATF Director of International & Championship Teams
- She is also a 4-time Olympian and former USATF Board Member (representing the AAC)
- See the 2018 International Teams Presentation for 2018 dates, locations, accommodations, selection process, etc
USOC Athletes Advisory Commission Report, Moushaumi Robinson
- We have to reach out to international athletes (via email, social media, at meets, etc) in our event group and have a unified voice on how we feel about doping, esp Russia. The USOC AAC wants to gather written communication from athletes around the world to put together a joint statement backed up by that written communication. Also send in your own.
- Use Email, Social Media, tell people in person, etc. Kind of like a giant petition but with more than your signature.
AAC Chair Update:
- To be finalized officially, but the 2019 USA Champs dates will be July 25-28.
Dawn Harper shares her experience with USADA and her health crisis in 2017
- Really important to talk to your family/extended family so you know health history
- Importance of communicating with your small circle so that there are witnesses who can say “yes, she did have a health scare”
- If you ever visit the doc office and have to get medicine, get your paperwork and keep it with you and ALSO the doctor’s information.
- She had a bunch of timestamped screenshots of her blood pressure too, which could be used for her case
- Do not be pressured into saying or doing something you don’t want to do. The lawyer told her to just accept whatever sanction they handed down, and that it was pointless to fight it. Go get another perspective. I have my agent and talked to Kacie Wallace
- Kacie Wallace, USOC Ombudsman, is really important to know! She helped a lot.
- They told her “With all that’s happening with Russia, we don’t want to make it seem like we’re being easy on Americans”
- They sent her a standard statement athletes make when they make the announcement for the sanction. She said no, I’m going to type up my own statement.