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Monday, December 13, 2021
CANOC President Calls for 50m Swimming for Olympics

President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) Brian Lewis is advocating for the inclusion of the 50m distance of three other strokes in the Olympic swimming programme.

Up to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, no 50-meter distance was included in the swimming programme. That changed in the 1988 Seoul Games with the introduction of the event that would take over from the 100m Freestyle as the blue ribbon event in the pool; the 50m Freestyle.

But none of the remaining three swimming strokes — Backstroke, Butterfly and Breaststroke — have been included at any edition of the quadrennial summer Games hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

So that Freestyle is the only discipline to have a 50m competition at the Olympics, with Breaststroke, Backstroke and Butterfly contested over 100m and 200m only.

The IOC introduced the 800m Freestyle for Men and 1500m Freestyle for Women at the Tokyo2020 edition, a change from previous Games, when women could compete over 800m in freestyle, but not 1500m, with men contesting 1500m events, but not 800m races.

However, the International Federation for Swimming (FINA), the world governing body for aquatics, introduced the 50m distances of the additional three disciplines at their World Championships -- which debuted in 1973 -- at the 2001 edition in Fukuoka.

Lewis believes the addition of these events will be a catalyst for increased diversity and inclusion in the sport of swimming.

“The 50s are on all the FINA programmes in long course (50m), Commonwealth Games, and other Continental Game programmes and of course, I believe that the demographics of the 50s at the highest level would encourage greater diversity in the context of the world championship and even Olympics and it would suggest that the reason why it is not in the Olympic programme is an IOC-related issue,” said Lewis.
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