The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not hasten to
finalize the timetable for the swimming event of the 2008 Beijing
Olympics, an IOC official said Tuesday in Beijing.
US broadcaster NBC has requested to move the swimming finals
from the evening to morning hours so that the competition can be
shown live in US prime-time. The IOC executive board discussed this
issue last week during its meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"We are looking at the possibility, and have not made any
decision," IOC marketing commission president Gerhard Heiberg told
Xinhua on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympic Sponsor
Heiberg said the IOC is "open" to suggestions of all
stakeholders and the timetable for the swimming competition will be
finalized by the end of this year.
"We want to ensure the audience around the world all get a
feeling that they are a part of the games," he said.
"There is a time difference between here and the US. If we could
put some of the finals in the morning, that would be good for the
US audience, just like the evening hours to please the audience in
Australian and in Europe, so we have to be a little flexible."
NBC owns the exclusive US media rights to the Olympics, having
paid 3.55 billion US dollars to cover the Games from 2000-2008.
Swimming has been one of NBC's best ratings winners in the
But Australian swimmers, coaches have voiced their opposition to
"This is about the integrity of the sport and allowing athletes
to perform to their maximum," Swimming Australia executive director
Glenn Tasker told The Australian newspaper.
"To force this on them would be grossly unfair and would produce
a second-rate meet."
Heiberg said the IOC will not sacrifice the athletes simply for
"We don't want to do anything wrong for the athletes," he
(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2006)