SBD/June 3, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Chuck Wielgus Withdrawn From Swimming HOF Consideration Amid Pressure

Wielgus has long been seen as a divisive figure within the swimming industry
USA Swimming Exec Dir CHUCK WIELGUS' name yesterday "was withdrawn as an inductee" into the Int'l Swimming HOF, according to Scott Reid of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The move came as Wielgus, USA Swimming and the HOF "came under mounting pressure from sexual abuse victims, Olympic champions and women’s sports and rights groups who charged that Wielgus’ induction would have been a 'slap in the face' to the swimmers who have been sexually abused by their coaches during his watch." However, the withdrawal of Wielgus’ name "isn’t likely to diminish the level or intensity of criticism of how he and USA Swimming have handled sexual abuse cases." The HOF's BOD and top officials in selecting Wielgus for induction "waived normal selection standards and procedures." Wielgus has "long been seen as a divisive figure." BOD member TERRY CARLISLE said, “I told them why we shouldn’t be inducting (Wielgus). I told them it would bring shame to the Hall of Fame if he was inducted. ... But it all fell on deaf ears." Reid notes Wielgus "was nominated by" former USA Swimming President DALE NEUBURGER. Neuburger also has been "frequently criticized for ignoring the sexual abuse issue" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/3). USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside notes the group of 19 women that started a petition for the ISHOF to rescind Wielgus' induction included long distance swimmer DIANA NYAD, along with "other current or former swimmers, coaches, family member and advocates." They also "reached out to the Women's Sports Foundation to protest Wielgus' induction." The group argued that Wielgus in 17 years as Exec Dir has "not effectively combated sexual abuse in the sport during most of his tenure" (USA TODAY, 6/3).
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