In place of the usual superlative awards like Best Swimmer and Best Race and Comeback of the Year, the 2020 ceremony will instead honor two very special groups of individuals, but not necessarily for what they did in the pool in 2020.
The first will be the 1980 US Olympic Swimming Team, which didn’t get the opportunity to compete in Moscow because of the political boycott of the Games by the United States and several other countries. 2020 marks the 40-year anniversary of that decision that changed the history of international sport. Many swimmers who would have entered that meet as favorites never again got a serious chance at Olympic gold.
USA Swimming will also honor “front-line workers keeping Americans safe.” USA Swimming says that this will include people across all levels of the swimming community who are making an impact during the pandemic, from “the club kid who’s delivering groceries to his elderly neighbors so they don’t have to risk exposure” or “running a lemonade stand to raise money for PPE” all the way to doctors, nurses, and other medical front-liners who are fighting the pandemic daily.
With no ultimatum to the 2020 season, it would be hard to give specific competitive awards, so these two groups of honorees will replace those awards.
“Golden Goggles is definitely going to have a different look this year, but it’s still a great opportunity to honor the incredible people within our sport,” USA Swimming Chief Operating Officer Mike Unger said. “This year’s event will include a salute to our front-line workers keeping Americans safe as well as a celebration honoring the 40-year anniversary of the 1980 Olympic team. The athletes on this team have long-deserved this recognition.”
Because of challenges with travel and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, guests will now attend the event online via usaswimming.org on November 19 and via a rebroadcast on the Olympic Channel on November 24 at 8PM Eastern Time.
That comes in place of the traditional red-carpet gala that usually hosts the event.
Viewers are being encouraged to dress up for the event, though it won’t be an interactive stream for most of the audience, and donate $21 to the USA Swimming Foundation. Besides being a celebration, the Golden Goggles Awards serves as a fundraiser for the charitable arm of USA Swimming that, among other things, provides free and reduced-price swim lessons. The USA Swimming Foundation has taken a broader role in 2020 by providing more than $3 million in COVID-19 relief grants to help teams stay afloat during the pandemic.
Additional opportunities for ‘virtual tables’ will be sold, which include a digital watch party kit and a virtual meet and greet with a US National Team athlete.
The silent auction will be held as usual.
- What: 17th Annual Golden Goggles Awards
- Where: Virtually, on usaswimming.org
- When: Thursday, November 19, 7:00 Eastern
- Suggested Donation: $21