The Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre at the Barra da Tijuca Water Park will have the capacity to hold 17,000 spectators, but at this time only 13,750 tickets have been made available. With the popularity of swimming it was one of the first venues to sell out. It was because of this fact that many Brazilian national team members family’s found it very difficult to purchase tickets for the day that their children will be swimming.
Swimmers have each been given one ticket for the day in which they compete, but for many this means that either their mother or father will not be able to attend.
Leonardo de Deus put it very succinctly in an online statement, “We did everything to buy the tickets but could not. During my sporting career I learned that the result is an integration between athlete, coach and family, a tripod. And if a party to weaken, the result does not appear as expected.”
de Deus was not the only swimmer to have these same feelings. Joanna Maranhāo, Thiago Pereira and Felipe Franca were all part of a group who submitted a joint letter to Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the President of the Brazil Olympic Committee, requesting the opportunity for their parents to buy tickets.
The full letter can be seen here.
The following day a response to their letter was published.
It was explained that each swimmer will be issued one ticket for the day of the event they will be competing on. In this statement it is said that swimming is the only sport which receives this opportunity and that the same policy was put in place in 2012 for the British athletes, even though the venue could hold more spectators.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee has taken the athletes request seriously and is currently working with their sponsors and FINA in an attempt to secure two tickets for each athlete. At the moment they have told athletes that their family members will have the first chance to purchase tickets for the day that they are competing.
The prioritization when it comes to which swimmers will have first crack at the tickets will be based on the athlete’s chances to win a medal.