Swimming’s Olympic Equality A reality As Freestylers Find Favour With FINA Fat Cats

Michael Phelps: the only way you're going to have a shot at my eight golds and record scores of 23 and 28 is if you bloat the program - 'come on Katie' - by Patrick B. Kramer

Freestylers, already the most bountiful of swimmers when it comes to Olympic medal shots, have been granted yet more chances as the International Olympic Committee ticked the box for the men’s 800m and women’s 1500m freestyle to the Games program for Tokyo 2020. A mixed medley relay also make the program, which may now be…

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It’s just the mixed medley relay and not the freestyle. Personally, I don’t like it, I don’t think the Olympics is the place for novelty events. Perhaps the winners will get candy floss instead of medals.
At least the the distances events are now equalised, although whether both the 800m and 1500m are needed is another question and where will the IOC fit the new events into the schedule?

Craig Lord

Thanks Ger. I agree. At Olympics, it smacks of egg and spoon race – and that while understanding the standard and quality involved. Plenty of other examples in other sports, of course. I don’t hold with the more is more… sometimes, it is distinctly less.


What were the IOC thinking when they agreed to an expanded program? I can see why in track and field you have races over 100/200/400/800/1500 metres. There is more competition depth in track and field. More importantly, as you go up or down a distance the adjustment that is required in terms of training, technique and physical conditioning is greater than it is in swimming and therefore requires greater specialization.
The mixed relays looks particularly superfluous. Track and field has four relays. Why does swimming need eight? This will go close to making the sport a laughing stock and it will definitely devalue the worth of a swimming medal.


Correction: swimming will now have seven relays. Overkill.

Craig Lord

Yes, too much. Dilution is what happens – including dilution of written coverage. At world titles it is physically impossible for single journalists to provide decent coverage to all highlights on an average evening of finals. It becomes ever more a remote show for TV/live stream and a result sheet, less a moment to provide great depth and the stories that tell why swimming is such a great sport and how it is stacked with terrific folk heavy on personality and stories – stories that are ever less properly told. Overkill is correct.


Realistically the formstroke 50’s weren’t likely to get the nod as this would be where you’d see the inflation in competitor numbers.

Neither the extra distance events or the MMR are likely to mean additional numbers as they’ll essentially be calling on those already competing in existing events.Zero issue with the 2 distance events but not happy about MMR primarily due to FINA trying to shoehorn it onto the program rather than have it proven that they ARE worth their place.

As a fan of nordic winter sports (and a Eurosport man), mixed relays have actually become an accepted part of the Biathlon World Cup where they hold at least 2-3 during every season including World Championships and in 2014 made an Olympic debut after more than proving its worth as an event

Swimming has no real international series to speak of where such a system could be replicated but are mixed relays on the program of any of the other “sub Worlds” meets ?

Wasn’t on 2014 Asian Games, nor CG or 2015 Pan Ams. There was a MFR at 2014 Euros and will have both at this years Euros. NOT (currently) on 2018 CG schedule. Unclear on Asian Games.

IF it were the case that mixed relays had become an accepted part of the program at both Worlds and at these “sub Worlds” meets over a couple of cycles, THEN my view may be different


A further note, the mixed relays in Biathlon & cross country skiing have a set structure of the 2 women’s legs (shorter in distance than the male circuit) up first followed by the men rather than the free for all that FINA has allowed to date with mixed relays.

I totally grant that these are very different sports but I cannot help thinking that a mixed freestyle relay would’ve been a better way to go IF they were so insistent on cramming a mixed event onto the program

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