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Open Water 10K Race Added to Program for Beijing Olympics -- October 27, 2005

BEIJING, China, October 27. THE Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee announced today that the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will include open-water swimming events for men and women. The Executive Board opted to include a 10K race. The Executive Board decision was based on recommendations from the Olympic Program Commission.

While the Executive Board decided to include an open-water race, it denied the addition of 50-meter races for men and women in the backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Only the freestyle is conducted at the Olympic level over a 50-meter distance.

“The addition of open water to the competition program at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is an exciting development for our sport,” USA Swimming’s executive director Chuck Wielgus said. “We are especially happy for our athletes, coaches and advocates who have worked so hard and who have dreamed of this day.

“I have personally always viewed open water as swimming’s corollary to what the marathon is to Track & Field. The event is unique, and it will offer up an entirely new side of competitive swimming to everyone who watches the Olympic Games.”