Thursday, September 24, 2020 (BRISTOL, R.I.) – In an effort to ensure athlete voices are able to communicate on behalf of their interests and protect their rights, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Athlete Advisory Council (AAC) has brought elected representatives from each National Governing Body (NGB) together in cooperative support of the USOPC’s mission, since 1973.
On Monday, September 21, Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) was elected as the next rising AAC Representative for US Sailing. Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) was simultaneously elected to serve as the Alternate Representative and will work alongside Maggie to support the athletes.
Shea has been a member of the US Sailing Team for seven years and is currently training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she is set to represent Team USA with her teammate, Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.), in the Women’s 49erFX.
As Shea will be actively competing during her term, Ryan will play an important role as the Alternate Representative. Thanks to the four years he spent as a member of the US Sailing Team competing in the Men’s 49er, Ryan will also be bringing his valuable experience as an athlete to the position.
According to the USOPC, the mission of the AAC is “To ensure communication between the USOPC and athletes who are actively engaged in amateur athletic competition or who have represented the United States in international competition within the preceding 10 years.”
Shea is looking forward to serving as the voice for U.S. sailors on the council. “I’m honored to be elected to serve my teammates as the AAC Representative. I hope to be an effective advocate for my fellow athletes and ensure clear and open lines of communication between sailors, US Sailing and the USOPC,” she said.
“After campaigning for the last seven years, I’ve seen the sport continue to professionalize and demand more from sailors. The amount of resources and support that is required to succeed is greater than ever. I want to be a voice for the sailors as US Sailing attempts to adapt and provide for their needs. For many years, I benefitted from the enormous efforts of many individuals behind the scenes at US Sailing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back and contribute in this small way.”
Her task as the elected representative will be to build relationships and actively communicate with US Sailing Team athletes, staff, leadership, development athletes and other NGB AAC Representatives.
Per the USOPC AAC bylaws, official terms run for the duration of a Summer Games quadrennium. Shea’s term will begin on Jan 1, 2021 and end on Dec 31, 2024.
Shea’s new position will be part of US Sailing’s strategy to increase active athlete participation and amplify athlete voices at all levels of the organization. To facilitate this infusion of athlete voices, US Sailing is enhancing the role of its the USOPC AAC Representative to create more active communication between US Sailing leadership and the athletes.
More on US Sailing’s strategy to further incorporate athlete voices into the organization and its Board of Directors will be announced after US Sailing’s 2020 Board Elections, which will conclude on November 7, 2020.