The International Olympic Committee and broadcasters NBC want
the finals of the swimming competitions of the 2008 Beijing Games to be switched to the
morning, according to a report on website swimnews.com.
The swimming 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 US media rights to the Olympics, having
paid US$3.55 billion to cover the Games from 2000 to 2008. The
company recently secured the rights to the 2010 Winter Games in
Vancouver, British Columbia and 2012 Summer Games in London for a
further US$2.201 billion.
Swimming is likely to be one of NBC's highest rated events at
the 2008 Games with Michael Phelps, who won a record eight medals
at the 2004 Athens Olympics, expected to lead the American charge
Australian swimmers currently provide the stiffest competition
to the Americans and their head coach Alan Thompson said if the
time switch was to be made, it should be made for the right
"One thing you can't sell is the integrity of the sport," he
told the website. "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 No 1 event in some kids'
"We have to be bigger than that. NBC will still broadcast it if
it's the other way round.
"The integrity of the sport must be maintained."
(China Daily June 13, 2006)