Less than a week after the International Olympic Committee added three new swimming events to the Olympic program, Michael Phelps made it known that he’s not thrilled with the changes. According to NBC OlympicTalk, Phelps commented on the changes at an appearance for Krave Jerky in New York City on Thursday.
Phelps was pleased that women will be able to race the 1500 free to ensure gender equality, according to NBC, but he thinks that a greater number of events “takes away from the sport.” He even compared the situation to the 2009 World Championships, when the presence of high-tech polyurethane suits contributed to 42 new world records set.
Phelps explained that he was pleased the IOC chose not to add the 50s of butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke to the program.
“What else are we going to add? Are we going to do, like, 75 frees? How many other events are we going to add?” Phelps said, according to NBC. “It’s just like what we had in 2009, after world championships, having those high-tech suits [that were banned in 2010]. It’s not swimming anymore. We’ve had this event schedule for so long, and now we’re just going to pick and choose what events we want? I could go into more detail, but I’m really not going to. It’s a touchy subject. I hope swimming takes the turn for the right direction, and we continue to grow.
“I don’t want to say it, but it seems like there’s too much going on. It seems like, so then we’re going to grow the team by a handful of other people? I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s what swimming has been through all of this time, and hopefully we don’t have it for too long, but it’s not in my power. I can’t really do anything. I’ll just sit and watch.”
Phelps’ opinion is in contrast with many others in the swimming community who were pleased to see the new distance events added. Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach for two decades, told Swimming World last week that he is excited for the new distance additions.
Phelps added that he would not be upset if a swimmer, possibly even Katie Ledecky, were to challenge his record of eight gold medals with the extra events added. He called it “great to see different events added for Katie because then you can really challenge where her limit is.”
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