Saturday, August 05, 2006

VDH comments on morning finals in Beijing

When asked about NBC’s request to the IOC to move the swimming finals to the morning at the Olympic Games in Beijing, Van den Hoogenband said:

“Do you see the big athletes of the 100 metre sprint, the Powells and Gatlins, running their final in the morning? Come on. Be serious. For one time, one tournament, they alternate the programme, because of American goals. Without knowing the opinion of the men to swim: we, us. This is worthless. For me especially. I am not a morning person. To be at my best at ten o’clock, shortly after breakfast, is impossible .”

He described the pure sport of swimming as “number one“, with the protagonists “even more important” than that. The IOC should consider those things above all else when they make their decision on NBC’s request - one that has brought widespread condemnantion - next month.

“We need rest to do our job in the best way we can. The finals in the evening: we lived with it, always. We got used at it. From boyhood till maturity. And now it has to change. For one time. They simply throw away the history of the sport. It is shameful and ridiculous. This is our biggest day in our career. For every sportman. And then they change the rules of the sport because of commercial reasons? I don’t get it.”


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