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USOPC implements widespread layoffs and furloughs in cost-cutting measure

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The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is eliminating 51 positions and furloughing 33 more amid the continuing devastating financial effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Another 23 temporary workers have had their assignments ended, and 32 employees were offered reassignments to new roles.

“I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this change. It is significant,” USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland wrote in a memo to staff.

According to the Associated Press, these are the most drastic cuts at the organization since 2009, when  54 employees were laid off to deal with recession-related shortfalls.

The move comes with the USOPC looking to make budget cuts of up to 20 per cent through the 2024 Paris Games following the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The organization’s four-year budget is around $1bn, meaning there could be cuts of up to $200m.

The situation could be worsened if the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, now set for 2021, is canceled entirely, which remains a possibility.

Hirshland has already taken a 20 per cent salary reduction through the end of the year, while other executives have taken 10 per cent pay cuts.

“It has become clear that it will take months, and not weeks, for us to return to full operation, particularly at our training centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid,” Hirshland added.

Sponsorship revenues will be diluted in the coming years due to the financial impact of the public health crisis. To combat this, USOPC and US Olympic and Paralympic Properties (USOPP), the entity charged with marketing and selling combined commercial assets after Tokyo 2020 up to Los Angeles 2028, has offered commercial partners the option to extend for no extra charge until after the Games in 2021.

The vast majority of US Olympic national governing bodies have also been affected by the health crisis but some, like USA Weightlifting, have pivoted their revenue streams online to mitigate losses.