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 swimnews.com.
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
"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
"The integrity of the sport must be maintained."