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USOC hosts Diversity & Inclusion Symposium with NFL, NCAA, PGA & NASCAR

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National Governing Bodies from dozens of sports participated in conversations about gender, disabilities and sexual orientation

John Orozco and Josh Dixon showed off their skills at the USOC's Diversity & Inclusion Symposium
John Orozco and Josh Dixon showed off their skills at the USOC's Diversity & Inclusion Symposium
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Olympic Committee this week hosted a three-day Diversity & Inclusion Symposium at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The event was organized by Jason Thompson, director of diversity and inclusion for the USOC.

The program consisted of three panel discussions, each of which tackled a different element of diversity. A panel on LGBT inclusion was moderated by You Can Play's Brian Kitts and included former NFL player Wade Davis, LGBT marketer Heather Torch and myself.

Other panels discussed the glass ceiling and other issues faced by women in the sports-business world, and the lack of access to sports experienced by so many disabled athletes. The keynote address included two disabled athletes from inner-city Cleveland: Paralympic judo bronze medalist Dartanyon Crockett and former high school wrestler Leroy Sutton (watch ESPN video of them below).

There was also opportunity to brainstorm best practices and creative ideas to build a more diversity body of athletes and sports executives at the collegiate, Olympic and professional levels.

Because the event was hosted by the USOC, most of the audience consisted of representatives of sports national governing bodies, including USA Swimming, Volleyball, Rugby, Track & Field and others. Various representatives from the other sponsors were there, including several from the PGA, who will host the symposium in 2014. It was a powerful opportunity for us to talk with these NGBs about protecting their LGBT athletes and building an environment of inclusion. Les Johnson, who heads up the division of the LGBT Sports Coalition that oversees NGBs, was hard at work making key connections.

We were also treated to demonstrations by resident fencers and gymnasts. Two of the gymnasts were Olympian John Orozco and our very own Josh Dixon, who came out publicly on Outsports last year. We even got to suit up and fence ourselves, after a couple lessons. And two US Olympic-hopeful modern pentathletes gave us a lesson in shooting.

High School Teammates and Wrestlers "Carry On" (via druidhills2005)

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