Just a day after Michael Phelps’ press 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.