Colorado Springs, CO, United States (4E Sports) – USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus has publicly apologized to the victims of sexual abuse who came out four years ago.
Through not directly involved in the scandal, Wielgus has been criticized for allegedly turning a blind eye to the scandal involving USA Swimming coaches.
Recently, Wielgus withdrew his name from next week’s International Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
In his blog, Wielgus apologized for his actions in the four years since claiming in a television interview that he did not owe the sexual abuse victims an apology.
“I’m sorry,” he wrote. “These are powerful words some people have wanted to hear from me for a long time.”
“I have been criticized in blogs, and most recently in the petition opposing International Swimming Hall of Fame induction, for not apologizing for not having done more to prevent sexual abuse by coaches,” he added.
The petition was set up on the website change.org by “19 victims of coaching sexual abuse and 29 stalwarts of the swimming community”, demanding that the International Swimming Hall of Fame rescind the induction of Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming since 1997.
“I brought this on myself in April 2010 when I said I had nothing to apologize for on a national television interview,” Wielgus continued. “Subsequently, I remained, if not defiant, at least defensive.”
“And so today, four long years later, I can truthfully say how sorry I am to the victims of sexual abuse,” he added. “Going back in time, I wish I knew long before 2010 what I know today.”
Wielgues said he wished “my eyes had been more open to the individual stories of the horrors of sexual abuse”.
“I wish I had known more so perhaps I could have done more,” he said.