By USA Swimming | Friday, May 26, 2017
Former USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus has been selected to the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017, which will be formally inducted and honored on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at The Broadmoor World Arena.
Wielgus, who passed away April 23 following a courageous battle with colon cancer, will be joined in this year’s Hall of Fame class by the Donner Family, Henry Egan, Pat Garrity, Janine Szpara and the 1998 USA Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team. Complete details on the class can be found at gazette.com.
The 18th annual banquet and induction ceremony is presented by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and sponsored by The Gazette and ANB Bank. The Class of 2017 will be inducted during a gala evening beginning with a reception at 5 p.m and dinner at 7 p.m. Also on the menu is the popular sports silent auction, a feature of the event since its inaugural year in 2000
The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame is a celebration of the city's rich sports history and the famed inductees honored has made it one of the most popular events for hundreds each year to attend.
Also honored will be the winners of the prestigious Sports Corp Special Awards: Col. F. Don Miller Sports Service Award, Thayer Tutt Sportsman Award, and a Special Recognition Award.
The Sports Hall of Fame has honored greats like Peggy Fleming, Goose Gossage, William Thayer Tutt, Bobby Unser, Bob Mathias, Dave Ogrean, Bonnie Blair, 1980 USA Olympic Ice Hockey Team, Bill Hybl, Marty Louthan, Ben Martin, Amy Van Dyken, Ken Hatfield, Fisher DeBerry, Earl "Dutch" Clark, David and Hayes Jenkins, Chris Fowler, Rulon Gardner, and many great high school and collegiate championship teams from Colorado Springs.
Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming Executive Director, Posthumous Induction
Charles "Chuck" Wielgus, who served USA Swimming as Executive Director for nearly 20 years, passed away on April 23 at the age of 67. Wielgus died of complications from colon cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2006. He courageously battled the cancer for more than a decade while continuing to steer USA Swimming to record growth.
Wielgus served as the Executive Director of USA Swimming since 1997 and as CEO of the USA Swimming Foundation since its inception in 2004. He was the longest-tenured chief executive of an Olympic national governing body at the time of his death. During his 19-year tenure, Wielgus led USA Swimming through an extended period of growth in what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. Membership has surpassed 400,000 while organizational revenues and net worth have more than doubled.
His achievements also included the creation of Splash Magazine, development of strong corporate and television partnerships, creation of new properties such as the Duel in the Pool, the Golden Goggle Awards and Arena Pro Swim Series, and re-positioning the U.S. Olympic Trials from a 4,700-seat natatorium in Indianapolis in 2000 to the 14,000 seat CenturyLink Center in Omaha. The 2016 Olympic Trials drew more than 200,000 spectators, an American record for a swimming event. Wielgus also spearheaded the creation of the USA Swimming Foundation, which through its Make a Splash initiative has the goal of teaching every child in America to swim.
Wielgus' vision to promote swimming to wider audiences resulted in securing annual network television coverage of championship swimming events, including the Pro Swim Series, National Championships, World Championships, U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Pan Pacific Championships and the made-for-TV Duel in the Pool, with American swimming teams facing teams from Australia and Europe. His distinguished career included numerous awards including a 2016 National Honorary Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy.
Under his leadership, the U.S. Olympic Swim Team won an average of more than 31 medals in each of the last five Olympic Games, including 33 medals at the Rio Games. The medal count has equated to about 33% of the total Team USA count. Additionally, financial support to USA Swimming National Team athletes and coaches also increased significantly under his leadership. In addition to his work guiding organizations, Wielgus had a passion for writing and co-authored three books with award-winning writer Alexander Wolff: The In-Your-Face Basketball Book, The Fan's Book of Sport Nicknames and the Back-In-Your-Face Guide to Pick-Up Basketball.