Q&A with Chuck Wielgus
The longtime leader of USA Swimming has overseen competitive success and spearheaded the move of the Olympic swimming trials into an arena setting
In the world of national governing bodies, it’s rare to see an executive director whose tenure can be measured in decades. But Chuck Wielgus has found a winning formula at USA Swimming since taking over in 1997. In fact, he just received a contract extension through 2020. Among other accomplishments, he led the efforts to take the Olympic swimming trials from a natatorium to an arena, developed new corporate and television partnerships, and created the USA Swimming Foundation. His athletes have fared exceedingly well at the Olympic Summer Games, winning an average of 31 medals at each of the last three Games. He has also weathered significant controversy involving sexual abuse by coaches, which led to the Safe Sport program.
In this interview with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, Wielgus discusses the upcoming Rio Games, progress in Safe Sport and his secret to NGB longevity.
With all the negative publicity Rio has received, are you concerned about how the Olympic Summer Games will be organized or do you think issues will be resolved like they have at previous Games?
I think both. On the one hand, how can you not be concerned about issues that relate to athlete safety, terrorism, health and safety, the Zika virus and water quality? Those are things you have to be concerned about. My great hope is that this Olympics will be like virtually every other one I’ve been to since 1992 in Barcelona in that the concerns will have not materialized in any extremely negative way. That’s my hope and that’s my expectation.
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