Sports/Olympics / 2008 Beijing Olympics

Morning finals proposed for Games
Updated: 2006-06-12 14:06

The International Olympic Committee and broadcasters NBC want the finals of the swimming competitions at the 2008 Beijing Games to be switched to the morning, according to a report on website

Swimming's world governing body FINA is considering the request to move the finals from their traditional evening schedule to suit North American TV audiences, the report said.

NBC owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympics, having paid $3.55 billion to cover the Games from 2000-2008. The company recently secured the rights to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and 2012 Summer Games in London for a further $2.201 billion.

Swimming is likely to be one of their biggest ratings winners at the 2008 Games with Michael Phelps, who won a record eight medals at the 2008 Athens Olympics, expected to lead the American charge for gold.

Australian swimmers currently provide the stiffest competition to the Americans and their head coach Alan Thompson said if the switch was to be made, it should be made for the right reasons.

"One thing you can't sell is the integrity of the sport," he told the Web site. "The thing you have to strive for is to get the best performances possible.

"If sports scientists decide that holding swimming finals in the morning is the best way to go, let's start thinking about it and doing it but let's not do it at the number one event in some kids' lives.

"We have to be bigger than that. NBC will still broadcast it if its the other way round.

"The integrity of the sport must be maintained."