USA Badminton names Nancy Hogshead-Makar to its board

Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Olympic swimming champion and prominent critic of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, has been named to the Anaheim-based USA Badminton’s board of directors as an independent director and congressional liaison.

The naming of Hogshead-Makar, a civil rights lawyer and founder and CEO of Champion Women, a non-profit providing legal advocacy for girls and women in sports, not only raises the stature of USA Badminton but also essentially gives one of the USOPC’s most outspoken critics a seat at the table in official dealings with the USOC.

Hogshead-Makar, also a longtime critic of USA Swimming’s handling of sexual abuse cases and the creation and operation of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, said one of her priorities will be reforming the 1978 Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The act, named after the U.S. senator from Alaska who sponsored it, gave the USOPC monopoly status for governing and promoting American Olympic sports and established NGBs for each sport.

“I’m thrilled to be athlete legislative liaison and what we can do from the board to help athletes with making governing changes to the 1978 Ted Stevens Sports Act,” she said.

Hogshead-Makar’s appointment comes just weeks after the USOPC agreed to drop its bid to decertify USA Badminton. That agreement ended a more than year-long battle over the control and direction of USA Badminton and came a day before a decertification hearing was scheduled to open.

Under terms of the agreement, USA Badminton avoided both decertification and probation, but will face some sanctions.

Hogshead-Makar will serve a four-year term running through 2024 and will then be eligible for a second four-year term.

“What really intrigued me about USA Badminton was being part of and working with a truly athlete-led governing body in the Olympic movement,” said Hogshead-Makar. “They’re really interested in growth. They want to energize the sport. Not shrink it.

“The mindset is not about how the organization’s executives can make money off these athletes. That’s not their head space is at all.”