The U.S. Olympic Committee named Sarah Hirshland its new CEO, the first woman to hold the permanent role after 11 men dating to 1950.
Hirshland, the chief commercial officer for the United States Golf Association, takes over during what she called “a critical moment in time” in its history.
The USOC and multiple national governing bodies for Olympic sports are dealing with sexual-abuse scandals, notably Larry Nassar‘s crimes against gymnasts.
“I also recognize the challenges ahead as we navigate this critical moment in the USOC’s history,” Hirshland said in a press release. “We must protect, support and empower athletes, young and old, elite and beginner. Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United States must be a shining example, able to provide athletes with the benefits of participation in an environment free from abuse of any kind. The USOC has made great strides in this area, and I look forward to carrying on that critically important work.
Hirshland said she took the job because it’s “an opportunity to take on a challenge.”
“As a female leader in the world of sport, I understand the importance of creating cultural change,” she said.
Hirshland has been with the USGA since 2011. Before that, she was senior vice president for strategic business development at Wasserman Media Group, headed by Casey Wasserman, the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic leader.
The previous USOC CEO, Scott Blackmun, resigned in February, citing prostate cancer and the USOC’s need to immediately address the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal. Blackmun had been CEO since January 2010.
Susanne Lyons, a USOC board member, was acting CEO the last four months during the search for Blackmun’s successor. Lyons and Stephanie Streeter were the only women to be USOC CEO, but both were in acting roles as searches went on to find full-time replacements.
The USOC’s work ahead also includes planning for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (the first hosted by the U.S. since the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games) and potentially bidding for the 2030 Winter Games with Denver, Reno-Tahoe or Salt Lake City.
ALL-TIME USOC EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
1. Lyman Bingham (1950-November 1965)
2. Arthur G. Lentz (November 1965-February 1973; leave of absence June-December, 1968)
3. Everett Barnes (Acting Executive Director, June-December, 1968)
4. Don Miller (February 1973-February 1985)
5. George D. Miller (February 1985-August 1987)
6. Baaron B. Pittenger (Acting Executive Director, October-December 1987; Executive Director, January 1988-July 1990)
7. Harvey W. Schiller (January 1988; January 1990-October 1994)
8. John Krimsky Jr. (Interim Executive Director, October 1994-September 1995)
9. Richard D. Schultz (September 1995-February 2000)
10. Norman Blake (February 2000-November 2000)
11. Scott Blackmun (Acting Chief Executive Officer, November 2000-October 2001)
12. Lloyd Ward (October 2001-March 2003)
13. Jim Scherr (Acting Chief Executive Officer, March 2003-April 2005; Chief Executive Officer, April 2005-March 2009)
14. Stephanie A. Streeter (Acting Chief Executive Officer, March-December 2009)
15. Scott Blackmun (January 2010-February 2018)
16. Susanne Lyons (Acting Chief Executive Officer, February-August 2018)
17. Sarah Hirshland (August 2018-)
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