FINA Director Talks About Extending Special World Championships Invitation to Michael Phelps

Just a day after Michael Phelpspress conference in Mesa, Arizona where confirmed he would not be competing at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, the world’s swimming governing body inserts its own line of thinking on the greatest Olympian’s participation.

On Wednesday of this week, Phelps reiterated that he would not be competing in Kazan, Russia, avoiding the displacement of swimmers selected in his absence due to a USA Swimming-imposed competition suspension. However, FINA Executive Director, Cornel Marculescu, told the Associated Press today that “it would be no problem for us to offer Phelps an extra place [at worlds]”

And how exactly would this transpire?  “We may give him another status because he’s the greatest athlete (in) history,” Marculescu said. “We can do whatever. He is the No. 1. He doesn’t need the accreditation.”  (ABC News)

Marculescu indicated that FINA has not yet discussed the notion with USA Swimming and one would be hard-pressed to find precedent on a similar situation.  Thus, it is yet to be seen if any action will indeed be taken by FINA to enable the greatest Olympian of all time magically eligible to swim at the event.

Even if the matter of adding Phelps is impractical and would take a very special case, these comments, rather, are more a referendum on the attitude of the FINA Executive Director and his opinions on the value of Phelps to the swimming brand as a whole.


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regardless of how you feel about this I literally just laughed so hard at how little this guy seems to care about the situation. He basically just said, “Yeah sure we’d let him come why the hell not he’s the best swimmer ever”.


Oh, it’s AMAZING. He literally said, “We can do whatever.”

Refreshing, to hear that much honesty from someone like that.

Lazy Observer

Whaaaaaaaaa? I don’t even think it was a good idea to voice, much less enact. Sometimes people are so special they literally fall outside the rules that bind every other swimmer (and country!) on the planet? This boogles my mind.


Swimming is now a pro sport, globally so more than in the US. The meet organizers depend on TV and advertising revenue – exemptions are common in sports like Golf where sponsors are routinely permitted a number of sponsor exemptions to draw a crowd and enhance TV revenue. Phelps participation almost certainly adds to global viewership. enhancing the value to all advertisers (not just Phelps’ paying endorsements) and helps the networks that carry the event sell ads, helps the host sell tickets, helps the associated tour groups sell tour packages, etc. – if we want swimming to succeed financially that’s the type policy that has to exist – allow exemptions and even appearance fees to high profile swimmers – Tiger… Read more »


I love it. The fact he’s got this much credibility goes to show how truly great he is. I don’t care about his punishment, in this instance, let’s let it slide.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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