by Irvin Muchnick
It’s all well and good that the Women’s Sports Foundation slapped around USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus for his cover-ups of sexual abuse, and cost Wielgus induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. But on the important next step of aiding the call for a Congressional investigation of coach abuse in swimming and other Olympic sports, WSF is silent.
And that leads to a hard question that can no longer be fudged: Exactly what is the financial relationship between WSF and USA Swimming, and between WSF and the U.S. Olympic Committee?
We didn’t find immediate and obvious answers in WSF’s published annual reports and tax filings. The foundation didn’t respond to my inquiry regarding this; if the folks there ever change their mind, Concussion Inc. will present their explanation fully and fairly.
Meanwhile, our concern is palpable and legitimate. The WSF website is promoting its gala fundraiser, the 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports, in New York in October. A “Premier Table” there goes for $25,000. A “40th Anniversary Table” is $40,000.
Is the public expected to believe that sponsorship at these levels by the swimming body and/or its parent wouldn’t influence the direction and emphases of this advocacy group? With respect to Congress and swimming, the issue is further entangled by Wielgus’s statements of the organization’s desire to “work with” the Women’s Sports Foundation on future solutions, and by USOC’s announcement of $10 million in seed money toward a captive, not-so-independent sex abuse investigative agency.