PHOENIX, Arizona, January 8. THE new partnership between USA Swimming and Arena has produced its first major piece of news, with the announcement that the Arena Grand Prix will be awarding prize money to the top three finishers at all the meets, retroactive to the Minnesota Grand Prix meet held last November. A total of $150,000 will be paid to athletes, with $500 for first-place finishes in all Olympic events, $300 for second and $100 for third. This is the first time the Grand Prix meets have featured per-race cash prizes, and could draw many of the country's top professional swimmers to the next five meets and likely create better racing with money on the line. The next stop in the Arena Grand Prix is next week in Austin, Texas.
Ryan Lochte's sponsorship deals mean he might not need the money offered at the Grand Prix meets, especially after yesterday's announcement that the Olympic champ is now getting his own reality TV show. Titled "What Would Ryan Lochte Do," the show will debut in April with six episodes that will show Lochte partying after the Olympics and getting back into training. No word on whether these six episodes mark the first of many seasons of the show, or if it's a one-time deal.
The announcement of the city that will host the 2020 Summer Olympics will not happen until September 7, but yesterday the International Olympic Committee released the names of the three cities in the final bidding process. Istanbul and Madrid would host the Olympic Games for the first time if selected, and if Tokyo is picked as the host, it would be the second time for the Japanese city after staging the Games in 1964. Madrid and Tokyo previously tried to win the 2016 Olympics, but both lost out to Rio de Janeiro in voting. If Istanbul wins, it would be the first Olympic Games held in the Middle East.