Longtime USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus was awarded a 2016 Honorary Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy for his lifetime of service to the world of sport.
Each year at the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, one national and one international honorary doctorate is presented. Prior recipients of the Honorary Doctorate include Prince Albert of Monaco, Bud Selig, Billie Jean King, Richard Pound, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Donna de Varona, Pat Summit and Condoleezza Rice.
The Honorary Doctorate program is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others.
“Being the recipient of the 2016 Honorary Doctorate is among the highest honors I can imagine receiving and this recognition is very meaningful to me,” said Wielgus. “I have been in the Olympic family for more than 30 years now, and I’ve considered every moment of it an honor and a privilege. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to work with some incredible people, and to cross paths with so many other dedicated professionals.”
Under Wielgus’ leadership, swimming has become the most successful of Team USA’s Summer Olympic sports. Wielgus has served as the executive director of USA Swimming since 1997 and as chief executive officer of the USA Swimming Foundation since its inception in 2004.
“The United States Sports Academy is proud to honor Chuck Wielgus, who has made a remarkable contribution to the sport of swimming in the United States,” said Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy President Emeritus and founder of the Awards of Sport program. “His work has enhanced the sport from the local level right up to international competition and the Olympics, where the United States has seen unprecedented success under his leadership.”
Under Wielgus’ leadership, USA Swimming’s membership has grown to more than 400,000 and has quadrupled both organizational revenues and net worth. In his tenure, the United States Olympic Swim Team has won an average of more than 31 medals in the last five Olympic Games. This summer in Rio, Team USA swimmers collected 33 total medals, including gold in 16 of the 32 pool events.
Wielgus is also credited with transforming the U.S. Olympic Trials – Swimming into a major showcase event by moving the competition from a 4,700-seat natatorium to an entertainment venue with 15,000 seats. The 2016 Olympic Trials sold more than 200,000 tickets for 15 sessions at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
He has also made strides in introducing American children to the sport of swimming through the creation of the USA Swimming Foundation and its Make a Splash initiative, which aspires to teach every child in America how to swim. Financial support to USA Swimming National Team athletes and coaches has also increased significantly under his leadership.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
For more information, please visit and www.usaswimming.org.
About USA Swimming:
As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 400,000- member service organization that promotes the culture ofswimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selectingand training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit www.usaswimming.org