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Friday, March 16, 2012
USOC distributes abuse manual

Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The U.S. Olympic Committee has distributed a new handbook to help coaches and athletes deal with sexual and physical misconduct in sports.

After a number of sex abuse cases involving USA Swimming, the USOC formed a task force last year. It recommended that national governing bodies adopt standardized policies to ensure safe training environments.

The handbook is an outgrowth of the work by the task force. It is titled "Recognizing, Reducing and Responding to Misconduct in Sport: Creating Your Strategy."

At its quarterly meeting Friday, the USOC board also discussed a website that will address the same issues. It's scheduled to go online this month.

CEO Scott Blackmun said, "Of all the things we do, this is likely to have a very significant impact."

Though the USOC didn't implement this program because of specific problems in any single sport, the leaders at USA Swimming used Friday's announcement to point out their own overhaul of their abuse-prevention program.

"USA Swimming is extremely proud of our comprehensive Safe Sport programming, expanded in 2010," said a statement released by the organization. "We hope that this leadership by the U.S. Olympic Committee will encourage other youth sports organizations to also address this issue in a meaningful way."