The United States Olympic Committee administers a number of programs with the objective of spreading Olympism and the Olympic Ideals. Outlined below are its two most robust Olympism programs: the Team USA Ambassador Program and Olympic Day.
### Team USA Ambassador Program
The USOC considers its athletes the greatest representatives of the Olympic Movement and Olympic values. By developing the Olympic values in elite athletes, and, through sharing their stories, we aim to inspire others to seek the highest levels of excellence and to have respect for all, regardless of nationality, religion, race or background.
Started prior to Beijing 2008, the goal of the Team USA Ambassador Program is to expose U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls to the expectations, roles, and responsibilities of representing the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This extensive athlete education program guides athletes through what it means to be an ambassador for their sport and country, how to embrace and maximize their role as a role model, and to consider the legacy and impact they hope to create.
The multi-phase program includes presentations, inspirational speakers and small group activities to cover such topics as:
* What it means to be an Olympian/Paralympian
* The athlete’s role as an ambassador
* The Olympic Ideals and why they matter
* Interview and media preparedness
* Leaving a lasting legacy through sport and Olympism
* Challenges all Olympians and Paralympians face
The 2012 program includes mandatory half-day sessions that take place at seminars conducted around the country, based on National Federation availability. The program allows for comprehensive discussions on the program objectives, including small group activities and interactive elements. A brief wrap-up session will be conducted in conjunction with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, providing a quick overview of ambassador program learnings, while focusing on inspirational activities and final tips.
The program is primarily delivered by iconic U.S. Olympians and Paralympians who have demonstrated sportsmanship and perseverance on and off the field of play in their own careers. The Olympic facilitators have included speedskaters Bonnie Blair, Eric Heiden and Dan Jansen; football player Brandi Chastain; softball player Jessica Mendoza; skier Picabo Street; decathlete Dan O’Brien; and others.
### Positive Outcomes
* The program was first administered in 2008, followed by 2010. Both Olympic and Paralympic Games resulted in better behavior and self-awareness by members of Team USA. The overall feedback from the American public was pride in the athletes’ performances on the field of play, but also their conduct off the field as good representatives of the USA and members of the Olympic Movement.
* Athlete feedback on the program has been overwhelmingly positive. All athletes who complete the program are surveyed and rank program elements on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest ranking. For the 2010 program, the average score on each question ranged from 4.0 to 4.4.
* The program has been a successful case study in bringing together cross-functional teams consisting of staff members throughout the National Olympic Committee, National Federations, alumni, coaches and athletes.
Not only have Team USA athletes represented themselves well on and off the field of play, but a nation and beyond have been inspired by their demonstration of the Olympic values. With 4 billion individuals around the world witnessing the Olympic Games, this program has the opportunity to disseminate elements of Olympism globally.
### Olympic Day
Olympic Day in the United Sates represents the pinnacle USOC-led event to educate youth on the values of Olympism by coordinating all the leaders within the U.S. Olympic Family. All constituencies within the U.S. Olympic Family work in tandem to spread the message of Olympism and plant seeds among youth about entering the athlete pipeline and pursuing their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.
U.S. Olympic Day celebrations of a national magnitude occurred for the first time in 2009 thanks to the support of Chicago 2016 and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2010, the U.S. Olympic Family rose to the challenge of surpassing the success of 2009 through increased participation among the National Federations, Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC), Multi-Sport Organizations (MSO), current athletes, athlete alumni and more.
2011 proved to be the most successful U.S. Olympic Day in history From June 19-27, the U.S. saw:
* 385 events
* 311 participating cities in all 50 United States
* 230 Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls and coaches
* 90,000 participants
At these events, athletes led discussions with youth about the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. Sports demonstrations, fun runs and festivals helped introduce young people to Olympic and Paralympic sport.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has designed a turnkey program that assists communities across the nation in celebrating Olympic Day. The organization creates a team of account managers who work directly with a portfolio of communities to provide assistance in preparing for the events. In addition, an online toolkit is available for each event, consisting of:
* Olympic Education Materials (scripts and DVD) for one of the following topics: fair play, respect, perseverance, sportsmanship
* Recommended Olympic Day agenda
* U.S. Olympic Flag
* Certificate of Participation
* Olympic Day Mayoral Proclamation Template
* News Release Templates
* Team USA Logo and Guidelines
* User-Generated website for posting photographs
The account manager also works with the more than 5,000 Olympians and Paralympians currently living in the United States, endeavoring to have an athlete present at most Olympic Day celebration to share their experiences and the role the Olympic Ideals have played in their lives.
Thanks to the support of all participating organizations, Olympic Day is on the verge of appearing in every community across America within the next several years while continuing to expand partnerships among the U.S. Olympic Family. Olympic Day is becoming a great springboard in the United States for disseminating Olympic values across and grassroots organizations and participants.