by Irvin Muchnick
Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, may soon make moot the petition against his International Swimming Hall of Fame induction later this month by announcing that he is asking Hall director Bruce Wigo to cancel the honor, according to sources at swimming headquarters in Colorado Springs.
The petition is led by Diana Nyad and 18 other victims of sexual abuse by coaches who accuse Wielgus of enabling a criminal culture in his 17 years as USA Swimming CEO, and in some cases of directly covering up or lying about known information. The petition was spearheaded by Nancy Hogshead-Makar, senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation. As this article was being posted, the petition had nearly 700 supporters since going online only last Friday. The link is http://www.change.org/petitions/bruce-wigo-rescind-chuck-wielgus-hall-of-fame-nomination?recruiter=97753835&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition.
Voluntary withdrawal by Wielgus would preempt the petition campaign. It also would take Wigo and the Hall of Fame off the hook for a promised but unspecified “review” of the petition’s allegations.
However, denying Wielgus a spot in the Hall would be only a first step in accounting for USA Swimming’s widespread and systematic cover-ups of sex abuse, which Concussion Inc. has been reporting for more than two years. In our view, next steps should include:
* ousting Wielgus from his $908,432-a-year position, on the backs of the dues of USA Swimming’s 400,000 members.
* criminal prosecution of Wielgus and others, including former board president Dale Neuburger, for perjury in sworn statements to courts in civil lawsuits by abuse victims.
* housecleaning of USA Swimming’s executive staff and board of directors.
* hearings in the United States Congress on decades of abuse scandals in swimming and other Olympic sports — geared at giving survivors a safe public voice and at reforming the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.
Tomorrow a magazine-length article will appear in a major publication on the decade-plus cover-up of human trafficker and abuser coach Alex Pussieldi, by both local government officials and USA Swimming. This story emanated from Concussion Inc.’s reporting. Follow ConcussionInc.net and @irvmuch on Twitter tonight for further details.
Complete headline links to our coverage of the Chuck Wielgus protest story are at the bottom of the post “Chuck Wielgus Belongs in the Hall of Justice, Not the Hall of Fame,” https://concussioninc.net/?p=9174.