Shallow Hype


From top: Where Is George Gibney by BBC/ Second Captains will be broadcast next month; Irvin Muchnik

The hype machine is cranking for the BBC/Second Captains podcast documentary series on George Gibney.

This would suggest that the series will, indeed, be dropping next month, after a postponement of the original air date with the implausible explanation that the delay was “due to the current global pandemic.”

Let’s hope the BBC Sounds podcast does a good job of telling the story of the now-climaxing US federal government investigation of Gibney’s status as a permanent resident alien — 25 years after his arrival on a mysteriously timely diversity lottery visa.

And a decade after he failed in an application for U.S. citizenship because he had lied on it about his 1993 indictment in Ireland on 27 counts of sexual abuse of youth athletes is his charge.

These instances of molestation, certified as “vindication” for Gibney’s accusers in a 1998 Irish government report, included his rape and impregnation of a 17-year-old during a 1991 training trip in Tampa, Florida, by his club, the Trojans, out of Newpark Comprehensive School in Blackrock, County Dublin.

This week, two BBC hype articles, one in the Irish Times and the other in the industry-captive Swimming World magazine, recycle the the Gibney saga while ignoring everything that has happened in the last five years.

Events such as the current federal investigation launched after the 2017 settlement, at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, of this reporter’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents from Gibney’s immigration file.

Of special interest to those who want to keep current is an American swimming coaching job offer letter to Gibney, with all salient features completely redacted.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Charles R. Breyer, in ruling “(mostly) in Muchnick’s favor,” cited my reporting of suspicions that John Leonard and the American Swimming Coaches Association had “greased the wheels” for Gibney’s safe harbour here.

The first hype piece was  “Game Changers: Gary O’Toole took a stand when others turned their heads,” in Saturday’s Irish Times,. It is a typical  Gibney history boilerplate from the Irish media, with appropriate kudos to the great Gary O’Toole, a root whistleblower.

The second hype piece merits special comment: As BBC Counts Down To “Where’s George Gibney” Podcast, Efforts Of Dr. Gary O’Toole To End Abuse Are Back In Focus – Swimming World News

The author, Craig Lord, a British journalist, ran a website called SwimVortex for five years. In 2019 Lord became editor-in-chief of Swimming World.

At the time of his shutdown of SwimVortex, Lord was in the middle of a controversy over his claim that ASCA’s Leonard had shared with him documents proving his innocence of any suggestion that either he or his organization had helped agent Gibney’s transatlantic relocation. (See the four spring 2018 Concussion Inc. articles below)

It hardly needs to be added that today’s Swimming World entry by Lord makes no mention of the controversy of two years ago.

Elliptically and irrelevantly, Lord does write:

“In the course of our own research, Swimming World has had sight of letters in which the American Swimming Coaches Association alerts potential employers to Gibney’s past, as well as other exchanges in which Gibney complains, through a lawyer, to ASCA that he is being prevented from gaining work by ASCA’s interventions.”

In addition to not producing these documents or even quoting verbatim from any of them, Swimming World crucially does not clarify whether such ASCA communications came before or after Gibney’s employment as coach of the USA Swimming age-group club in Arvada, Colorado, in 1995.


What American Swimming Coaches Association Boss John Leonard Is Now Saying About ASCA and George Gibney Doesn’t Add Up,” March 9, 2018,

“John Leonard’s Mouthpiece, Craig Lord of SwimVortex, ‘Will Think About’ Sharing Purported Documents of American Swimming Coaches Association Chief’s ‘Damning Evidence’ That Supposedly Kept George Gibney From Getting Employed in Colorado,” March 22, 2018

“Craig ‘I’m a Journalist’ Lord of SwimVortex Is ‘Working On’ a Story About ‘Documents’ That Purport to Show American Swimming Coaches Association’s John Leonard Did Right in George Gibney’s U.S. Visa and Colorado Coaching Job Scenario,” March 27, 2018,

“Craig Lord Shuts Down SwimVortex — And Stays Silent Over the Mystery ‘Documents’ That He Claimed Exonerate American Swimming Coaches Association Boss John Leonard in the George Gibney Cover-Up,” May 2, 2018

Previously: George Gibney on Broadsheet

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5 thoughts on “Shallow Hype

  1. White Dove

    Thanks Irving. Broadsheet’s ongoing coverage of the Gibney saga is in stark contrast to other Irish publications. It seems like Gibney was very well connected indeed.

  2. Gerry

    Chilling stuff, I remember going to the Newpark pool as a lad and wondering why an innocuous storage room was called the “chamber of horrors”.

    Great work Irvin

  3. Slightly Bemused

    When I was a kid we trained at Glenalbyn in Stillorgan. Occasionally we would have mini galas against the Newpark lads, and sometimes we would travel there, sometimes they came to us. Thankfully, I do not remember this… man, although I know he was about.

    Glenalbyn was relatively new, so while we had a core of good swimmers, few were really great. Honours were shared with Newpark, more often than not. Real enmity was saved for Kings Hospital :-) And withing the club, my personal nemesis was a young lad named Stephen Roche. I met him years later, and in the short visit we had a few laughs at our time then.

    I truly enjoyed those days, and have many fond memories. It really saddens me that people who were sharing the pool with me and my family in sporting competition were going through all that. Sullies the memory, somehow.

    Glad you are keeping the issue alive, Irvin.

    P.S. Why is it you never see your mistakes until after you post?

    1. Irvin Muchnick

      Thank you, Slightly Bemused, for your memories and comments. Regarding your P.S. — which mistakes are you referring to? The occasional and inevitable typographical error? I don’t have a staff of copy editors and proofreaders. I do my very best with limited resources, and I try to keep faith with my readers.


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