November 20, 2009
USADA announces the kick-off of a new corps of ambassadors in its Athlete Ambassador Program, which utilizes a network of athlete speakers, writers, and supporters to teach and promote the principles of true, fair and drug-free sport. Originally developed in 2002, this program brings together athletes who can stand alongside USADA as inspirational examples of and ambassadors for the advancement of clean sport.
Primarily, this program allows these ambassadors to have an impact on our nation’s youth and deliver an authentic message of integrity, health and sportsmanship, directly from those who represent these ideals on the highest level. Additionally, it offers a platform for these athletes to support USADA’s mission for clean athletes, and to promote clean sport with these vital audiences, giving back to their sports through altruistic efforts. Moreover, athlete ambassadors have an opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of performance-enhancing substances in sport through personal “clean sport” stories.
USADA’s Athlete Ambassador program combines the best of the long-standing ambassador program, and other USADA athlete outreach programs, and draws on the selection of America’s best athletic role models (Olympians, Paralympians, Olympic- and Paralympic-hopefuls, and ultimately coaches). The USADA Athlete Ambassador Program is designed to promote the ideals of true sport through athletes and coaches that are dedicated to competing clean.
Specifically, ambassadors can participate in a variety of ways, including delivering live presentations, writing articles, participating in USADA education video productions, or making appearances at sport functions, among others.
The athlete ambassadors currently participating in the Athlete Ambassador Program include:
- Kristin Armstrong, Cycling (Boise, Idaho)
- Nathalie Bartleson, Synchronized Swimming (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
- Jeremiah Bishop, Cycling (Harrisonburg, Va.)
- Caitlin Cahow, Ice Hockey (Minneapolis, Minn.)
- John Godina, Track and Field (Mesa, Ariz.)
- Ralph Green, Paralympic Alpine Skiing (Vail, Colo.)
- Erin Hamlin, Luge (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
- April Holmes, Paralympic Track and Field (Chula Vista, Calif.)
- Augusto Perez, Paralympic Wheelchair Curling (East Syracuse, N.Y.)
- Dee Dee Trotter, Track and Field (Knoxville, Tenn.)
- Kicker Vencill, Swimming (Los Angeles, Calif.)
- Lauryn Willams, Track and Field (Miami, Fla.)
USADA is hosting this kick-off with a group from this latest Ambassador corps November 19-20 in Colorado Springs, Colo., providing the opportunity for participants to share with each other how their experiences as elite athletes exemplify the core principles of true sport, to foster a team environment amongst the group, and to receive tools and background for their Ambassador responsibilities.
USADA Education has reached thousands of athletes, coaches, parents, teachers, and students. Understanding the importance of peer education, the Athlete Ambassador Program seeks to work with national governing bodies, sporting federations, community organizations, schools, national conferences, and others to offer education that influences the attitudes and values of young competitors with regards to life lessons learned through sport.
USADA is the non-profit, independent and non-governmental entity responsible for the testing and results management process in the U.S. for athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, upholding the Olympic ideal of fair play, and representing the interests of athletes. USADA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs. The agency manages a drug reference phone hotline as well as the Global Drug Reference Online at www.GlobalDRO.org, conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as curriculums, themed brochures and nutrition and dietary guides, easy-reference wallet cards for the prohibited substance list, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference publications, all of which can be found at www.USADA.org.