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President's Report July-August 2012
- Lydia T. Scardina, President, USA Dance
- Date Published:
- July 1, 2012
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BERLIN
Much has been written about the June, 2012 WDSF annual General Assembly Meeting in Berlin, and most of you have probably seen the USA Dance press release issued earlier on the outcome of this meeting. But I would like to add my thoughts on what this means for USA Dance and its position in the dance world.
Despite my columns in the past regarding the benefits to DanceSport in being part of the Olympic movement and my encouragement to our chapters to celebrate our connection to Olympism via Olympic Day, there are still some who continue to question the value of our Olympic affiliation and the designation of competitive ballroom dancing as a sport.
If nothing else, the WDSF's lifting of athlete suspensions at the Berlin meeting has demonstrated concretely the benefits which USA Dance derives from its relationship with the USOC.
The USOC takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the rights of athletes to practice their sport without undue restrictions. This right is provided to athletes and officials under the Olympic Charter, USOC Bylaws and the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act passed by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States.
Because the USOC recognizes USA Dance as the National Governing Body for DanceSport in the U.S., the above provisions and protections apply to USA Dance members. Those outside the Olympic movement do not get this same level of protection.
Consequently, when I requested a letter from the USOC General Counsel's Office to take to Berlin outlining the protections for athletes in this country, the USOC took my request seriously and provided USA Dance with a strong and clear letter against the banning of athletes within the U.S. merely because they choose to participate outside the competitions of their International Governing Body, which for DanceSport is the WDSF.
This letter had a strong impact on the WDSF Presidium and the Delegates of the other national federations. When added to a similar letter received from the National Olympic Committee of Denmark as well as information received from the International Olympic Committee, the combined effect was to provide clear and incontrovertible reasons to the Presidium to revise their policy regarding athlete suspensions and to allow for the reinstatement of all athletes and officials who had been suspended.
Having a strong, principled organization like the USOC in one's corner and being part of a global athletic movement that has within it both artistic and non artistic sports that are known and respected around the world, is a great benefit to USA Dance and all its members.
USA Dance has sent its thanks to the USOC General Counsel's Office for their great assistance to our members, and we look forward to developing an even closer relationship with the USOC in the future.
And now that the distractions caused by the suspension of athletes and officials are behind us, the WDSF and its national federations, including USA Dance, have emerged stronger and more committed to work in unison toward the further growth and development of DanceSport as a healthful recreational activity, an art and a sport.