Will The Epiphany Of This Twelfth Night Stretch To A Brighter Day In Swimming?

Impact - by Patrick B. Kraemer, a shot of Japan's Yasuhiro Koseki at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Editorial: Twelth Night. Swimming is in the midst of its own epiphany, 2016 marking the rekindling of a yule log that has smoked not glowed for far too long. For log read clean sport and the failure of global sports governors to deliver it. Deep in the hearth is the ash of underlying crisis: governance structures that deliver poor to woeful ‘leadership’ that takes its cue from self-interest. The flow of Olympic money – $5.5bn in a quad – is interesting but deeper understanding tells us some of the reasons why athletes need professional representation at a time when national federations are falling down in their constitutional duty to hold the fire to FINA’s feet

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FINA is the mess that it is because it’s not in the job description of any executive or board member in any national federation to improve the sport globally. The federations simply ‘benchmark’ themselves against other federations. USA Swimming believes it’s doing a great job because it’s at the top of the pile, Swimming Australia congratulates itself for punching above its weight, British Swimming is happy with its performance because it’s the big improver etc. etc. Meanwhile the sport globally falls further and further behind. FINA is dominated by delegates from countries where there is no culture of democracy, transparency or accountability and they go largely unchecked. Is it any surprise the sport is so poorly governed? There are too many institutional blockages for real change to occur. The only hope I see is if swimmers organized themselves into a strong body and demanded top to bottom changes.

Craig Lord

A fair summary, longstroke.

Steve Levy

I can see this article being quoted when the United States Department of Justice opens its tax evasion trial against FINA (singing me and Julio down by the court room). Breaks in morality and civility will never be the instigators of change in our swimming community but greed will.

Very nice words Craig.

Craig Lord

Thanks Steve. “Breaks in morality and civility will never be the instigators of change in our swimming community but greed will”. Spot on. The complicity of those who turn a blind eye to a system built on greed, regardless of whether they themselves benefit in any direct financial way or not, is a key part of this picture.

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