USOPC ethics committee finds Anne Cribbs ineligible for Olympic alumni group post

The ethics panel of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has stated that former Olympic swimmer Anne Warner Cribbs was ineligible to hold a position with the American Olympian and Paralympian Association, an influential alumni group.

The ethics panel determined that Cribbs, president and CEO of the San Francisco Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee and former chair of the US table tennis council, “is not eligible to become a USOPA official based on the statements she has made about it. her medal status “in a video provided to the USOPC, according to an email from Holly Shick, USOPC chief ethics and compliance officer, provided to the Orange County Register.

Cribbs has been calling himself Olympic gold medalist for decades. She swam in the preliminary round of the 4 × 100 m medley relay at the 1960 Olympics, but did not participate in the final where the US team was victorious.

At the time, the International Olympic Committee only awarded medals to athletes who competed in the relay finals. Years later, the IOC and FINA, the global governing body of swimming, amended their rules prior to the 1992 Olympics to also award medals to swimmers who competed in the preliminary rounds.

The ruling follows a USOPC investigation into allegations that USOPC statutes were violated during a recent USOPA election in which Cribbs was a candidate.

USOPA’s election dispute is significant because the organization has two seats on USOPC’s board of directors, which plays a leading role in determining the priorities and direction of the USOPC and the 50 national governing bodies under its umbrella.

Cribbs declined to comment on this story.

The USOPC investigation was prompted by allegations that the USOPA nomination committee chaired by John Naber, an Olympic swimming champion, did not follow USOPC guidelines and that Cribbs did not disclose the results of a USOPC-commissioned investigation into American table tennis that was very was critical of Cribbs and played a leading role in her forced resignation as president of the USATT. USOPC later received complaints about Cribbs referring to himself as a gold medalist.

Naber, a former USOPA president, is one of four candidates for the two alumni seats on the USOPC board of directors voted by USOPA.

The ethics committee ruled that the “USOPA must hold a new election to ensure that candidates are fully vetted and based on the withdrawal of one candidate after the elections are underway,” the Shick email said.

The Ethics Committee, chaired by IOC Vice President Anita DeFrantz, also ruled that the “USOPA should conduct a more rigorous vetting process on candidates before their names are included in election voting, including background checks and self-disclosure of negative information relevant to the grades sought. for those roles. This new process applies to the USOPA Executive Committee and other committee members. ”

“The USOPC Ethics Committee has achieved the right result; the Olympic values ​​of integrity and sportsmanship should apply to the company and the entire Olympic Movement, ”said Edward G. Williams, a member of the USOPA, biathlete at the 1968 Winter Olympics and former assistant US attorney, who filed a complaint about Cribbs and the USOPA with the USOPC.

“The alumni association, USOPA, not only failed to follow its own election procedures, but the nomination committee also failed to investigate the candidates it proposed for election,” Williams continued in an email. As a result, the USOPA Nominating Committee placed candidates on the ballot who did not meet USOPA’s minimum qualifications. One candidate was found to have lied about her credentials as an Olympic gold medalist … for more than 50 years. We look forward to another election that is transparent and fair, with a competent Nominating Committee. ”

A 2019 USATT investigation commissioned by the USOPC found that then USATT Chairman Cribbs had violated the organization’s statutes by not disclosing a conflict of interest while serving as the USATT board chairman, according to the investigation’s confidential final report.

The investigation by Arent Fox, a national attorney and lobbying firm with six U.S. senators as alumni, also found that Cribbs had manipulated meeting agendas to protect board members who aligned with her, the confidential report said.

The findings of the investigation were cited by the USOPC when, in November 2019, it threatened to deprive USATT of its national governing body status and demanded that Cribbs and the rest of the USATT board resign.

“At this time, due to USATT’s ongoing problems with its operations, governance and culture, the USOPC is concerned that USATT may not be able to meet its obligations to its members, including American athletes,” wrote C. Onye Ikwuakor, USOPC associate general counsel, in a letter dated Nov. 25, 2019 to Cribbs and USATT CEO Virginia Sung. “The USOPC is also concerned that USATT will not conduct itself in a manner that demonstrates its ability to fulfill the responsibilities of an Olympic Sports Organization and NGB as required by … USOPC Statutes.

Given the number and severity of the issues identified by the USOPC and in the Confidential Independent Report, it appears that ending USATT’s recognition as the NGB for table tennis in the United States may be appropriate at this time. ”

The USOPC stopped decertifying USATT, but Cribbs and the board were forced to step down in December 2019.