ISTANBUL, Turkey, January 18. IN a move that appears to presuppose selection as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Turkish swimming federation has asked Bob Bowman to act as consultant in an attempt to raise its status in the international swimming community.
An article on the Turkish sports website HaberTurk.com stated that Bowman, the longtime coach of Olympic legend Michael Phelps, would take the reins as CEO of the federation and spend half the year in Turkey working with administration and the country's top swimmers. But in an email today to Swimming World, Bowman clarified the information, saying he's only acting as consultant.
"While I am doing performance consulting with the Turkish Swimming Federation and expect to be involved with helping them improve their program from grassroots through international levels, my previous commitments preclude me from becoming the CEO or national team coach for Turkey," Bowman wrote.
Those commitments include, among other things, his head coaching and CEO duties at North Baltimore Aquatic Club. After the London Olympics, Bowman offered his consulting services to British Swimming as a member of their review panel that attempted to explain the results from the Olympics and offer suggestions in the new Olympic cycle.
Istanbul is one of three cities fighting for the privilege of hosting the 2020 Olympics, with Tokyo and Madrid also in the running. Turkey has a distinct disadvantage in the sporting community, with only 87 medals awarded to Turkish athletes in all sports at the Summer Games. Japan and Spain, by comparison, have won a combined 79 Olympic medals ... in swimming. Turkey has never won an Olympic medal in swimming, and research indicates no Turkish swimmer has ever reached an Olympic final.
Bowman's involvement could change that.
"The Turkish people are very enthusiastic about improving their swimming performance," Bowman wrote, "and I am happy to provide some coaching guidance and advice as they move forward."