by Irvin Muchnick
The most undercovered scandal in sports is the widespread sexual abuse of untold hundreds of early- and mid-teen female swimmers by untold scores of coaches. Money- and image-obsessed USA Swimming, the national governing body under the umbrella of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has been covering up these practices for decades. White-collar criminal accounting and oversight fixes remain a length and a half behind the public’s uninformed indifference.
That may be changing with a 15-page article by writer Rachel Sturtz in the December issue of Outside magazine, which hits newsstands today. It is the best hope in years for getting this multi-generational, Catholic Church-scale national disgrace the attention it deserves, and for spurring investigations set in motion over the summer by retiring Congressman George Miller of California’s 11th District and several offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We, like all of you, are just now reading the lengthy story by Outside’s Rachel Sturtz. We will review it in full shortly.
by Irvin Muchnick
“There’s a horror in the shadows of American competitive swimming: a continuing legacy of sexual abuse, usually involving male coaches who prey on young women – and a governing body that looks the other way.”
Beginning with the powerful subhead text above, the long article in the December issue of Outside magazine, “Unprotected” by Rachel Sturtz, is unquestionably the most effective mainstream-media hit on the white-collar criminals at USA Swimming since the broadcast investigations of ABC’s 20/20 and ESPN’s Outside the Lines in 2010.
Outside’s package of online features – including interviews and a rogues’ gallery of some of the worst offenders on USA Swimming’s now 108-strong banned list – has production values that Concussion Inc., of course, has no hope of ever matching.
All this even though the magazine, unlike Tim Joyce and Irv Muchnick, carefully avoids goring such sacred cows as “child protection expert” Victor Vieth; former swimming abuse cover-up lawyer Travis Tygart (who is not mentioned at all, but whose over-praised U.S. Anti-Doping Agency hovers over “future solutions” like a false idol); and the local police, parks and rec departments, and media institutions of South Florida that corruptly allowed Alex Pussieldi to get away with his human-trafficking racket for more than a decade after multiple complaints of his Peeping Tom videos of swimmer-tenants, and of his collection of recordings of his sex with underage boys.[…]