The USSA Core Values have been an integral part of shaping our culture as an Olympic sports organization. We have seen how they have served as a guiding light for our athletes, staff, coaches, clubs, volunteers and parents. Thanks to an idea presented by a key USSA volunteer official, we are adding a seventh core value to help lead us to achieve our Best in the World vision.
Courage: The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear, to achieve a goal.
As a valuable stakeholder in our sport, you make a difference in the lives of athletes. You play an essential role in their ability to achieve an Olympic dream. You execute that role knowing the pride you feel in making their dreams a reality. That takes courage!
Courage is at the core of every successful athlete. It took courage for Lindsey Vonn to overcome fear and put it all on the line down a course she had never skied top-to-bottom to win the Olympic downhill. Jessie Diggins displayed courage when she set aside fear of defeat and gutted it up a hill after losing a pole, tagging off to teammate Kikkan Randall to win World Championship gold. Courage plays a role each time Kelly Clark launches out of the halfpipe or Tom Wallisch shoots a 65 foot gap on a slopestyle course. Imagine the courage it took for Hannah Kearney to push out of the starting gate in Vancouver on a horrible weather night to beat Canada’s hero to win gold.
This past winter, Julia Mancuso waited patiently through hours of weather delays and the tragic crash of her teammate before courageously pointing her skis towards the finish to win a World Championship medal. And just think about the courage it took for 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin to have the fortitude to win both the World Championship and season long World Cup title.
At the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, courage will play a pivotal role in our athletes’ and staff’s quest to be Best in the World. The stakes are high. But all of us must be willing to move boldly ahead without fear. We each have different challenges, whether it’s taking training to a new level, creating innovative new strategies as leaders or dedicating our careers to helping our athletes achieve success.
The USSA Core Values exemplify who you are as an individual. It takes courage to be loyal and to persevere, to be accountable as part of a Team or to have the will to prepare. It is courage that has changed our culture at the USSA to become Best in the World. We have accomplished that because we have stayed the course of excellence and never compromised.
Values are the key to the future of our organization. Courage binds it all together.