What was your takeaway from the Sochi Olympics?
It was enlightening to see the amount of detailed work and preparation
our staff put into Sochi and the success our athletes achieved because
of that. One element was the strategic effort years ago that led to
the new events in freeskiing (halfpipe/slopestyle) and snowboarding
(slopestyle) that resulted in medals. Secondly, the athletic infrastructure
we developed from exclusive training camps the last few years in Sochi
and our development of a hotel and training base there were game
changers for our athletes.
As the new leader of the USSA, how will you build on its past
Bill Marolt set a Best in the World vision and took the organization
there. My objective is to continue that Best in the World direction
and to make it even more relevant to more people and to grow our
organization to better embrace our participants, members, parents and
home coaches. Let’s remember, too, that the success we saw in Sochi
started long ago with the support of parents, grassroots clubs and
coaches. Our Sochi success is their success, too.
To that end, what is your specific direction?
Our emphasis now is on three important areas.
• Ensuring continued focus on our Best in the World vision through the
development pipeline and elite teams.
• Broadening the scope of participation in our athletic programs so that
everyone, including athletes, parents, clubs, judges/officials, coaches,
volunteers, customers, donors and fans, know their role as an active
participant in our organization’s success.
• Enhancing and modernizing our business operations to better serve
How are you looking to expand participation?
An overarching goal is to expand our number of stakeholders and
How has the McKinsey Study helped?
members. Each sport has engaged a membership task force to
determine the best direction for that sport athletically and to embrace
new groups of members. Our membership in each sport should be
geared to capturing the broad spectrum of interested athletes and their
respective communities and fan bases. Already this season we’ve
added new membership categories, expanded benefits and have a
renewed focus on being more inclusive to all.
The 2013 McKinsey Study focused on the relationship between the
USSA and its alpine divisions – important to the future governance and
organization of the USSA and its regions, divisions and local clubs.
This structure focuses on the USSA’s role in development at early
career stages, sport participant entry, athlete retention and attrition,
sanctioned competition outside of the elite pipeline and the general
costs of participation. Thanks to the work of Darryl Landstrom, Bob
Dart and our committee, we have concluded the affiliation agreement
process with the close collaboration of divisional leadership nationwide.
I have enjoyed this process and appreciate the huge efforts made by all
What role do clubs play?
USSA’s local clubs will continue to be the vital piece where kids and
parents get their introduction. Our new USSA Club Development
System certified its first 10 clubs at the gold and silver levels last
year. Not only have we created a “gold standard” for clubs, but this
certification system gives parents a roadmap of what to look for in
a club, ensuring that there’s a strong athletic system and a safe
environment with SafeSport education and background screening of
club coaches and officials.
How is the USSA planning for the future?
An area of renewed focus for our organization is our USSA Long
Term Strategic Plan, which was adopted by our USSA board in 2010.
That plan provided a succinct roadmap to help us structure resource
allocation overall and helped with development and elite sport into
the future. The plan has served us well. In concert with our USSA
Chairman Dexter Paine, we’re re-visiting that plan and will make a next-steps presentation to the USSA board at our annual meeting in May.
What’s the role of Athlete Career and Education?
A sound academic and career-planning strategy has a positive impact
on athletics. Our new USSA Vice President, Athlete Career and
Education Jory Macomber has made good progress this summer
integrating all components of our program under one roof. The mission
of USSA Athlete Career and Education and performance lifestyle is
to support the whole person to help improve athletic performance,
increase longevity in the sport, initiate successful careers and cultivate
long-term connections to and support of USSA.