On Eve of Olympics, Has Abusive Brazilian-American Coach Alex Pussieldi Just Been Reinstated by Florida Gold Coast Swimming?

Published July 26th, 2016, Uncategorized

Links to Concussion Inc.’s coverage of Alex Pussieldi are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=8652.

 

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

Two years after Concussion Inc. busted Alex Pussieldi as a human trafficker and abuser whose crimes were covered up by the swim club housed at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, by USA Swimming, by the Sun Sentinel newspaper, and by the Fort Lauderdale police, parks department, and elected officials, we have repeatedly made the point that Pussieldi, today back in his native Brazil, belongs nowhere near the venues of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where is a commentator for the country’s SporTV television network.

Now the South Florida swimming community bubbles with a new rumor: that Pussieldi recently may have quietly returned to the good graces of Florida Gold Coast Swimming, a regional affiliate of USA Swimming, which had fined him in five figures and suspended his membership because of hundreds of technical violations related to the false residency claims on behalf of foreign swimmers the coach had opportunistically shuttled from program to program.

USA Swimming never banned Pussieldi. But in the midst of Concussion Inc.’s coverage, a decade later, of the full background of his 2004 physical assault of a swimmer while serving as an assistant coach under the late Hall of Famer Jack Nelson (himself the credibly accused molester of Diana Nyad), USA Swimming’s safe sport director, Susan Woessner, told an inquiring coach: “I can only offer frustration myself when I review the file and wonder why more was not done then.  I can tell you that we are committed to trying to right that wrong now.”

Pussieldi’s return to eligible status could be as simple as the passage of time: terming out his “indefinite suspension,” accompanied by payment of his $17,750 fine. For Pussieldi, the fine was just part of the cost of a business that went sour in the end — the business being his and Cuban partner Tomas Victoria’s Davie Nadadores swim club, which had gotten kicked off the campus of Nova Southeastern University and unraveled.

The general chair of Florida Gold Coast Swimming, Allan Williams, did not respond to a request for comment. Concussion Inc. also contacted the other 16 listed members of the board of directors. The only one who responded was a painfully ironic figure: a coach in the region whom we have not named, but who is identified by multiple witnesses as having told colleagues that Pussieldi molested him in high school swimming. This board member merely said that Pussieldi had not been reinstated “to my knowledge.”

One of the completely unresponsive board members was a long-time critic of Pussieldi, who wound up landing on the staff of the American Swimming Coaches Association — the fiefdom of executive director John Leonard, who has told Concussion Inc., “We do not have an organization that deals directly with children, nor is that part of our purpose in any way, shape or form.”

In May, at the behest of Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, abusive Australian coach Scott Volkers, who repaired to Brazil after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against him, was banned from the Rio Games by the International Olympic, Committee. However, the news site SwimSwam reported earlier this month that Volkers was continuing to coach the Brazilian pre-Olympic camp despite the ban. See https://swimswam.com/scott-volkers-coach-brazilian-pre-olympic-camp-despite-olympic-ban/. Another unconfirmed report places Pussieldi at the camp alongside Volkers, but that could well have been in the former’s current role as a swimming journalist.