SwimVortex concludes its countdown of the most significant swimming stories of Olympic Year 2016. No 1 – In a Lifetime. What had he seen; what had he witnessed; what had he battled against; what had he lived through in a swimming lifetime? The experience of Forbes Carlile, lost to us in 2016, is one of several pegs on which we hang our No1 entry in this list of the year’s top 20 stories. The second peg is the SwimVortex book of the year, Making Waves, by Shirley Babashoff. Alongside that are the events related to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, namely statements such as those from coaches Jon Rudd, Bob Bowman and the swimmer of the year, Michael Phelps; the stance of John Leonard, George Block, Bill Sweetenham and many coaching peers on the burning topics of doping and failed governance; the courage of Mack Horton and Lilly King in Rio de Janeiro and all those who stood in the stands and booed and jeered and railed against that which they are no longer prepared to put up with; the courage of whistleblowers in Russia and China who want the news to reach the wider world so that their sports communities, their children, their young athletes do not have to travel the road of Babashoff, the GDR girls, Yuan Yuan and others who are, quite simply, victims of a system of abuse tolerated and, through that and a form of heavily subsidised-for-life governance founded on and sustained by self-interests, supported by the custodians of swimming
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