USA Swimming’s New PR Guy: ‘I’m Sure We’ll Definitely Be in Touch Soon’

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by Irvin Muchnick


Scott Leightman has replaced Karen Linhart as USA Swimming’s director of communications and public relations. In response to a query from Concussion Inc. last week, Leightman emailed that he’s “getting my feet grounded” and “I’m sure we’ll definitely be in touch soon.”

If so, this will mark a departure in USA Swimming policy and practice as the organization comes under further siege in federal investigations and media coverage.

Readers here will recall that Linhart was the flack who threatened to have me thrown out of the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, site of the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials, for approaching her with a question about an investigation of a coach accused, and later convicted, of sexual abuse of a swimmer. See

In July 2003 an internal USA Swimming media outlined a $200,000 PR campaign to combat negative “perceptions” of its “Safe Sport” program. See This crisis campaign is being coordinated by USA Swimming’s Denver-based consultant, GroundFloor Media – which also has been paid tens of thousands of dollars by the Office of the Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman. See

In their memo last year, USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus and board president Bruce Stratton wrote, “[W]e will continue our current media relations strategy of working with legitimate media sources and not engaging with personal bloggers.” Wielgus, in his own new “personal blog,” then assured his audience that upcoming C0ngressional probes wouldn’t make a splash.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick