Why Bodysuits should be banned at the Sydney Olympics
Written By Forbes Carlile,Swim Coach
This letter is to urgently request your federation to consider the FINA Bureau’s October 8th 1999 approval of the Speedo and Adidas bodysuits; that the use of these and similar suits should not be confirmed at the General Congress on September 14th 2000 in Sydney.
WHAT TO DO
This can be accomplished at the Congress two days before the games.
So that no competitors should be "disadvantaged" all swimmers should be warned now that it is possible that they will need to compete in suits with standard fabric and not those with high tech fabrics developed and used in the last two years.
Such a hold on the use, a moratorium, on performance-enhancing suits should be maintained until proper investigation and discussions within the federations have taken place.
finally a decision, potentially many claim very harmful to the sport, was made that the full body suits involving high tech fabrics could be worn. This decision was publicly announced to have been based on the assertion that "everybody else at the Sydney Games would be wearing bodysuits so American swimmers must not be disadvantaged" .
The Board was swept along following assurances in quick succession from Tyr, Speedo Adidas and other companies that they would, if required, supply suits to all 1200 competitors. But significantly the manufacturers did not say they would supply fitted suits, individually measured to ensure the closest possible fit which is known be essential for optimum performance. Other than with exactly fitting suits swimmers are slowed down to varying degrees..
The Board had painted itself into a corner by making the major concern availability.
The best and "highest tech" suit will never be available, even all the elite, simultaneously. Clearly there will always be some just one step ahead and therein lies the essense of the unfairness. FINA rules have been always understood to be there to ensure that it would be the swimmer , not unfair practices or equipment, which should decide the outcome of competition.
The FINA Bureau, no doubt following its Executive’s recommendation, in October 1999 took the far-reaching "longsuit" decision based on either……
There seems little doubt as claimed by manufacturers that with various fabrics the resistance can be lowered between natural skin and water thus making it very likely there is significant aiding of performance.
Whatever were the reasons for the Bureau's approval of the bodysuits it is clearly essential that Congress should delay confirmation of this decision, until scientifically valid, independent and objective testing of suits and fabrics is undertaken and the whole situation is thoroughly understood and discussed within the FINA nations.
There is no doubt that FINA rules require, a Confirmation of all Bureau decisions at a General Congress.
Because it will obviously not be possible for well- informed decisions on the use of the bodysuits to be made before the start of the Sydney Olympics itis clear that the only logical and reasonable conclusion that the Sydney Congress can come to is to call for an immediate hold ( a moratorium) to be placed on the use of ALL FABRICS developed, say in the last two years. It is re-stated that no competitors will be "disadvantaged " if every swimmer is required to wear a costume manufactured from a "standard fabric" and all competitors being informed now of this possibility. It would hardly make sense for swimmers to go to the trouble and the expense of wearing expensive knee or ankle length suits if the skin/water resistance was increased. But this would be their call.
In 2001, the full conference of FINA should meet to approve well- considered rules governing swimwear.