Funding for Athlete Performance

Monday, Jul. 15, 2013

USSA invests over $20 million per year to support the performance of the athletes in its elite teams.  This investment comes in the form of world-class coaching, extensive medical services, equipment support, high performance services (conditioning, nutrition, psychology, technology, physiology, and data tracking and analysis), elite training facilities, home-field international competitions, and academic and career development programs.  These services are provided year-round both at the Center of Excellence, and in the field for each of USSA's 195 elite team athletes.  And in some cases these services are extended to alumni of the elite team in order to help ease the transition away from elite sport and into their next career, and also to athletes just below elite team selection.

While $20 million annually may seem like a massive allocation to its elite athletes, it's clearly substantially less than is spent by our competitors internationally.  A constant focus is on making every dollar count, and every resource highly potent.  Through its resource allocation, USSA has chosen to provide its elite athletes with the personnel, programs and services that create performance, and which no one else is equipped to, or will provide to them.  And that focus has given our athletes and teams a strong foundation from which to establish their performance.

The purposeful bias toward providing performance-enhancing programs and services also means that most athletes in the elite teams continue to invest in their own careers, by paying their personal travel costs during the season.  While virtually all of USSA's elite athletes have had to support their personal travel costs at the club level (in addition to contributing financially to the coaching they received), the continued funding of personal expenses is a recognized burden on the athletes.  But this approach is also consistent with the feedback we've heard from our elite athletes – prioritize and give me the things I otherwise can't get, even if that means I have to take responsibility for my own travel costs.

While USSA must annually raise the $20 million needed to operate its elite teams each year at a Best in the World level (not to mention the additional funds necessary to operating its domestic development, coach and club education, and competition programs), it has also facilitated ways for the athletes to raise funds where necessary to satisfy their personal expenses.  This has been done in strong partnership with the athletes, and through a mutual understanding of the financial requirements of both the team and the individual athlete.

USSA is unique internationally in that – unlike virtually every other national ski and snowboard association - it received no government support.  But through unique partnerships among the team and its athletes, USSA has established an effective way to develop and support the performances of its elite athletes at all levels of the pipeline.

Luke Bodensteiner - EVP, Athletics

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