BEIJING, China, September 28. ALTHOUGH the International Olympic Committee has yet to deliver a final approval, a competition schedule distributed by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee to a world-press briefing indicated that the swimming finals will, indeed, be held in the morning. The possibility of that scenario unfolding has made for hot discussion over the last few months.
Shifting the swimming finals to the morning is based on a request by NBC Television. Adopting such a move would allow for the races to be shown live in primetime in the United States. Not surprisingly, there has been a considerable uproar, particularly from the international ranks. The main argument is that the athletes are being placed second in priority to the dollars of American television.
Although the distributed schedule indicates that morning finals are likely, organizers of the Beijing Games and the IOC did not confirm the change. More than 300 media members attended the press briefing, designed to inform the media of plans for the 2008 Games. The IOC is expected to render its official decision on the morning-finals possibility during a November meeting.
If morning finals become concrete, expect a number of competitions around the world to begin shifting to a morning-finals format. That alteration would allow athletes to familiarize themselves with the change. Nonetheless, next year’s World Championships in Melbourne will likely remain in its original format, with preliminaries in the morning and finals at night.
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