I first discovered Irvin Muchnick six or so years ago. I think it may have been in a Swimswam comment. On first read, Muchnick's words can hit you like a two by four across the face. Especially in the world of swimming, to say his approach and willingness to take on powerful figures is uncommon would be a vast understatement.
When I speak to him later today, I will fully admit that while I privately supported what he was doing early on, I was petrified to do so publicly. A lot of us who have written about abuse, sexual and otherwise, in swimming have stood behind Muchnick, nervously. We've waited to see if he got sued, or had to retract.
He has not, and if you dig through his archives, you will find a lot of stories that he was way ahead on. In fact, it was Muchnick who took the fight to court. Unsatisfied by American immigration authorities response to his Freedom of Information Act request, he has taken them to court to try and find out who helped pedophile Irish swim coach George Gibney enter the US. Despite a ruling that went largely in his favor, there are still unanswered questions about that.
This is probably the biggest swimming focus Muchnick has had over the last few years. However, between updates he has also doggedly investigated almost all the major stories in this realm. Just yesterday he began to present the story of Sarah Erekircher, and that story promises to continue to develop.
He followed that with a piece in Outside magazine, where he presents an outline of what he sees as a big picture solution to this problem.
The challenge of this podcast for both of us will likely be to remain focused. With so much to talk about, it's important to keep certain unresolved issues and questions at the forefront. I'm looking forward to doing that.