FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, June 10. IT's only been a few weeks since Rick Curl was sentenced to seven years in jail for sexually abusing Kelly Currin the 1980s, but one of the blowbacks of the court case came with some faulty reporting about the sentencing itself.
Unfortunately, the bulk of mainstream coverage referenced Curl as a hall of famer. In the sport of swimming, that statement definitively means you were inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, something that never happened with Curl.
ISHOF CEO Bruce Wigo has been fighting off the incorrect connection ever since news broke that Curl had been sentenced. Wigo successfully lobbied for the Washington Post to print a clarification in its reporting:
Clarification: An earlier version of this editorial described Rick Curl as a Hall of Fame swim coach. That description was misleading and perhaps incorrect: Officials at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the sport's best-known institution of its type, and the American Swimming Coaches Association say that Mr. Curl had not been inducted into their halls. There are scores of swimming halls of fame, but The Post has identified none into which Mr. Curl was inducted. The following version has been updated.
However, there are still plenty of other reports out there still linking Curl and ISHOF. Because of this, Swimming World is giving Wigo a platform to explain the issue by reprinting his letter to the Washington Post as well as ISHOF's stance on sexual predators.
While the following letter was addressed to the Washington Post directly, it applies to the bulk of the mainstream reporting that still exists out there incorrectly identifying Curl as a hall of famer.
I am writing to respectfully request a correction to inaccurate reporting in recent articles and OPINIONs that have appeared in your newspaper regarding Rick Curl and your assertion that he was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame. For most people around the world, the Swimming Hall of Fame is synonymous with the organization known as the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Established in 1964, ISHOF the only “swimming hall of fame” that is recognized by FINA, the international governing body for the aquatic sports. As such, your articles and references connecting Rick Curl to the Swimming Hall of Fame are inaccurate, misleading and damaging to the reputation of our organization.
Unfortunately, the words “swimming hall of fame” are in the public domain and are not subject to trademark protection. By itself, this phrase could refer to hundreds of “swimming halls of fame”, from the University of Alabama Swimming Hall of Fame to the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame to the newest, Mark “Z” Swimming Hall of Fame, found on Youtube.
Rick Curl has not been and never has been honored with induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
We would greatly appreciate you clarifying this point and if in fact he has been inducted into some “swimming hall of fame,” that you specify which swimming hall of fame you are referring to and not confuse that entity with our organization.
Thank you for your consideration
ISHOF's stance that inductees will not remain so if found to be sexual abusers
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is an educational not-for-profit organization that operates a museum, conducts educational programs that promote swimming and water safety, and honors individuals who have achieved at the highest levels in our sport as athletes, coaches and administrators.
We deplore any ethical violations of the spirit and principles of Olympism, and especially those instances involving coaches who have used their position of authority to sexually abuse athletes entrusted to their care.
The ISHOF is able to rely upon the legal system, USA Swimming, and other governing bodies, along with organizations responsible for registering, certifying and disciplining coaches to make determinations regarding violations of accepted Coaching Ethics Policies.
To date, the ISHOF has received no such findings against any of the coaches admitted into our Hall of Fame. If a court of law, national or international governing body or other organization such as USA Swimming, the YMCA, AAU or FINA member federation were to make such a determination, we will act promptly for the protection of athletes, and the integrity of our Hall of Fame.