FINA Bosses Plead For More Just As Olympic Budgets Add Dickens Of A Twist In IOC Tale

Spotlight on swimming - by Patrick B. Kraemer

FINA is bidding to have the International Olympic Committee extend the swimming program for the Games to nine days so that it can shoe-horn an extra 10 events in and make the ultimate showcase for the sport mirror a bloated world-titles schedule. The logic of those running FINA is clear: more is more and more creates more stars. The logic of critics is just as clear: more is less and will dilute the offer, while leaving swimming open to further attack from those who say the sport already has too many events. A Twist of Dickens ahead for all concerned.

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Comments

commonwombat

In principle, I oppose further Olympic “gigantism”/blowout in participant numbers and thus agree with this piece.

Whilst I’m not really in favour of these additional events, and hope the IOC deliver a sharp ‘smackdown’ to FINA for their temerity; lets actually analyse whether there will be any real expansion in numbers should any or all of these events get “green-lighted”.

Mens 800/W1500: without a doubt the easiest to say Yes to as its hard to see ANY real increase in numbers as these events will, to a man or woman, be drawing from those already swimming the M1500 & W800. This is the one extension to which I would have no argument should they say Yes. The one issue would be where do then place in on the program given it in itself does not warrant an extra day

Mixed relays: I haven’t been a fan of them to date although in a couple of winter sports, mixed relays have become accepted by both the public and teams and are now on the Olympic menu. To date, there has only been limited take-up at Worlds due to their non-Olympic status although this would change once they became such. I’m not seeing their introduction causing any real increase in numbers however they WOULD bring potential stress to countries with limited depth whose stars are already needing to swim both relay heats and finals. This may prove/continue to be a “turn off”factor even with Olympic status.

Form-stroke 50’s: Here is where we may see a blow out with 50 specialists butting up against 100 swimmers. Much as I respect the 50 specialists and, at heart, wouldn’t mind seeing them have their Olympic outings; the blowout in numbers overrides sentiment.

longstroke

A definite no to the expansion of the Olympic swimming program. If we ended up with the sort of program the FINA bosses want then the critics who decry the number of ‘Mickey Mouse’ events in swimming would no longer sound so silly. Yes, track and field has 47 events but to give just one example, the discus is a very different event to the 110m hurdles. Even within the 24 events you see in track, there is much less overlap than what you see in swimming. For example, 400m swimmers are often also world class over 1,500m. Such a combination in track events is unheard of. Leave it as it is I say otherwise the appeal of swimming will suffer further in the sporting landscape.

Craig Lord

Quite so, longstroke

Craig Lord

Valid points CW… the order of your notes is the reverse of the priority some with a vote in their hand may grant it all, however: I think the mixed relays and stroke 50s would be granted the nod before adding two more distance events… and I think the outcome of the discussion on the latter may well be” choose… one distance per gender (i.e. 1500 for both, 800 for both or stick with what you’ve got). I can’t see how the IOC could add 10 events and retain its apparent weddedness to containing the size of all things. I also think that some teams would be swollen to unsustainable numbers – and we’d see selection policies that call for stroke dashers to make it to a level of almost guaranteed top 5 finish or no go, which would place those events in the realm of the kinds of things we see more often at world s/c champs etc, where swimmers end up in finals on the big occasions even though the ranks and trials events around the world suggest they wouldn’t make it to the best 20 if all the best were there on the day. Such forms of dilution – and the things longstroke refers to in his comment – are not good for swimming.

commonwombat

Very fair point, Craig; I was viewing first and foremost through the lens of “what would impact competitor numbers the least”.

I by and large agree that the TV lobby would have M800/W1500 as their least preferred option due to the “dead time” argument although good ole US nationalism at NBC might be swayed by further gold for Ledecky, USA & another chance to run up Ole Glory !! (snark).

The rest of your comment …. singing from the same hymn book ! Realistically the list of potential host cities & countries for future Games is contracting at an astonishing rate ….. and I’ll go as far as to say that even the most successful host cities of the past 20 years would be loath to put their hands up again.

Realistically, they need to enforce a ceiling on sports and competitor numbers then find a way to weed out sports or at least cull events OR look at operating on a structure of “core sports” (that must be there) then another level of “optional” sports (ie set a number per games but host cities may choose not to include due to expense of building new facilities/no following in that country). Not an easy process but one suspects its going to be adapt to the new realities or die

longstroke

Who is ckamouring for more events? The swimmers? No. The fans? No. The media? I can’t be sure, but probably no. It is all driven by the fat cats in FINA. These people are bereft of ideas and delude themselves into thinking that by just adding things they are making progress. Witness the shambles that is the World Cup. We don’t need more content. What we need is more quality. Where in the world of swimming are the people with the competence and imagination to deliver it?

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