It’s official, the USAR and the IGR are going to be represented at the USOC 2018 Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere (FLAME) program. FLAME is a program intended on “promoting diversity and inclusiveness in sports business and within the ranks of the USOC by providing ‘college and graduate-level students with an intensive look into the corporate world of elite sport’, mentioned in the USAR article.”
The collaboration between the USAR and the IGR is meant to end homophobia in all areas of the rugby claims the article, “USAR and IGR began their relationship in 2015 with the signing of a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goal to eliminate homophobia in rugby. Ventura and Zugschwert worked extensively on the MOU and created the first such agreement between IGR and a Rugby National Governing Body. The memorandum signed by Nigel Melville, the previous CEO of USAR and Jeff Wilson, the previous Chairman of IGR along with an IGR agreement with World Rugby that same year sent a very powerful message of support for those programs and initiatives that would seek ‘to end homophobia in all areas of the game’.”
The article continues to state, “This cooperation went on to experience successful collaborations including encouraging LGBTQ diversity, sponsoring a national anti-homophobia campaign for rugby, increasing participation of LGBTQ with rugby coaching courses and certifications, and a USAR run player clinic at IGR’s Bingham Cup hosted in Nashville in 2016. The Bingham Cup is IGR’s marquee international tournament showcasing IGR rugby union clubs from all over the world. The Nashville tournament hosted over 42 teams and 1,200 players, staff, and family members. The USAR player clinic provided IGR players a chance to learn skills and drills from some of USA Rugby’s finest national players and coaches, including Kenneth Forehand, Director of Training & Education at USA Rugby, Andre Snyman the former Head Coach of the Glendale Raptors, Sarah Chobot from the Women’s Eagles Sevens squad, and Katie Sjeklocha, Director of First 15 Sport Performance.”
The presentations will take place between May 30 – June 6, 2018, at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Spring.
What a giant step in the right direction to give our athletic LGBTQ youth an opportunity to participate in a sport they might have otherwise thought they would be shunned from participating in based on their sexual orientation.