Culture

Three questions with Olympian and new USAC board of directors rep Maddie Godby

'Elite athletes must deliver medals. However, USA Cycling can better protect and promote athlete wellbeing, which can increase athlete longevity and success.'

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Maddie Godby has represented American cycling around the world as an athlete at the highest levels, including this year at the Tokyo Olympics. As of today, the track racer is now also an athlete representative on the board of directors for USA Cycling.

Per U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee rules, the four athlete reps are chosen from the elite pool of athletes who have competed at the Olympics, world championships, and Pan Am games in the past 10 years. Athletes put themselves forward for consideration, and then are chosen by a vote of their peers from that same pool.

Godby joins Cari Higgins, Meredith Miller, and Alison Tetrick to form the first all-female set of athlete representatives on the USA Cycling board of directors.

What was your motivation for joining the USAC board?

The Olympic dream is an ideal that can easily be used to manipulate and abuse athletes, evidenced by the USA Gymnastics scandal in which athletes are still fighting for an appropriate resolution. No athlete should fear retribution for speaking up to voice a concern or give feedback to their national governing body, or feel forced to compete under unsafe circumstances because more value is placed on results than the human capital on which sport is founded.

The bottom line is that elite athletes must perform and deliver critical outcomes of world championship and Olympic medals. There is no denying this. However, I believe USA Cycling can better protect and promote athlete wellbeing, which in turn can increase athlete longevity and success in the sport.

I ran for an athlete representative position on the USA Cycling board of directors because I want to help affect positive athlete-centered change at the organizational level to help all athletes feel supported so that they can achieve more.

Godby warming up on the rollers at the 2020 world championships. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

What shape do you think American bike racing is in at the moment?

Development efforts of the last decade have resulted in exciting performances for American cyclists. The women are consistently strong across all disciplines, and the men have had several thrilling breakout performances in 2021. Elite racing leading into the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics holds great promise for USA Cycling.

Additionally, I think that there are several opportunities arising that can expand the American cycling fan base, including the popularity of recreational cycling resulting from COVID-19, the ever-increasing participation in gravel racing, and the emergence of teams like L39ION of Los Angeles who challenge the status quo.

What do you hope USAC can accomplish in the next three years?

A goal is to create a sustainable cycle of development: more grassroots efforts leads to a greater number of athletes in the development pipeline which fuels more athlete success to inspire more participation in the sport.

I believe that three main challenges need to be addressed in order to move towards achievement of this goal, which are increasing membership and participation numbers to fund expanded programming, improving athlete support and prioritizing athlete wellbeing, and implementing diversity and inclusion efforts to improve access to cycling for everyone.

I hope that this term of the USA Cycling board can imagine and begin to implement innovative solutions to the challenges, and I am excited to help be a part of the process.