by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
Under the glare of government investigations of widespread coach sexual abuse, USA Swimming has escalated from sacrificing ham-and-eggers within its ranks to closing the historical books on some of the sport’s biggest names. That’s the significance of the lifetime ban of Mitch Ivey, the serial predator whose bust at age 64 takes the concept of “better late than never” to new levels.
We’ll comment further tomorrow on the significance of swimming’s moves in the context of the overall political rumblings in Washington over the failures of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s national sport governing bodies.
Meanwhile, after Ivey, at least three elderly living Hall of Fame coaches come under renewed scrutiny: Paul Bergen, Jack Nelson, and Murray Stephens. We start here with Bergen. At the bottom of this post are complete links from Concussion Inc.’s coverage of the Bergen story, which was launched by revelations in 2010 — including on ABC’s 20/20 — that he molested his Olympic swimmer Deena Deardurff Schmidt.
To this day, Bergen is not only a revered figure in the sport, but also a presence on the pool deck of his son Linck Bergen’s Tualatin Hills Swim Club in Beaverton, Oregon — which, incidentally, is sponsored by Nike and for the last 14 years has helped stage the Paul Bergen Junior International Championships. At http://muchnick.net/bergen.pdf, we uploaded the January 2013 issue of the club’s magazine, The Current. See the photo on page 6 with this caption:
“A real celebrity was sighted on deck at this year’s Junior International as the man himself, Coach Paul Bergen, made an appearance …”
FURTHER READING ON BERGEN: