Deena Deardurff Schmidt is a former swimmer from the U.S Olympic team. Nearly 40 years after she was on the team she spoke out on the sexual abuse that had allegedly been going on with the U.S. swim team. Keep reading to know this full story plus check out the photos and video below.
For 52 year old Deena Deardurff Schmidt, to remember her golden years at the U.S Olympic Swimming Team is a mix of happiness and terror, as part of the team back in the 70’s she won her gold medal when she competed at the 1972 Olympics Games in Munich, Germany and a silver one the next year at the World Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. This was some of the happiest times she remembered and the fact that she loved swimming, but there were also terrible times she’d rather not think about, but she felt obliged to not remain quiet about her horrible experience as she was not the first, and not the last.
Deena was the victim of sexual abuse by her swimming coach, the coach’s name that she hasn’t revealed, but who ironically is in the Hall of Fame. She said that when it first happened she was just eleven years old, out of fear of what might happen to her and her career she remained quiet, but six years later she told her story, but because she was no longer active she had to find a coach to represent her, but was not able to find one. About 15 years later, someone from the swimming team informed her that the alleged coach was going to be considered for the Hall Of Fame and it was then that she filed the complaint again, but nothing was ever done.
Then it was heard from a young swimmer who accused her coach, Andrew King, who was later sentenced to many years in jail, but like this girl, Deena also said that about 30 more swimmers have been the victim of sexual abuse, that like her are too afraid to say something.
"It has haunted me throughout my swimming and coaching career that others are very likely being abused," she said. "My reason for speaking out now, and always has been, is to put an end to the sexual abuse of young girls."
Deena is a cancer survivor, she used to be the coach at San Diego University from which she was unfairly fired so she filed a lawsuit which she won. Currently she wants to start her own role as a swimming teacher. She lives in California and is the mother of two young men, Tyler and Michael, who like her mother are also swimmers.
Take a look at the video below.