FINA Favors Morning Finals At 2020 Olympic Games

As has been brewing since IOC Vice President John Coates visit to Japan back in 2017, it’s looking more and more like the 2020 Olympic swimming finals will take place in the morning, just as they did in 2008 when the Games were held in Beijing, China. Today, while celebrating its 110th anniversary, the world swimming governing body of FINA announced it supports morning finals, siding with American TV networks over Japanese broadcasters.

The entire competitive schedule for Tokyo 2020 was released yesterday, but the swimming, artistic swimming and diving events were still listed as ‘to be determined’ in terms of specific dates and times. NBCU, which acquired the broadcast rights to all media platforms back in 2014 in a deal valued at USD 7.65 billion, is pushing for the gold medal races to take place in the morning, which translates to primetime viewing in the United States.

However, the timing of swimming finals is not yet a done deal, as the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee is still putting up a fight. Per our report last month, according to a national survey published recently in Japan, respondents listed swimming as the sport they’re most looking forward to in 2020, followed by gymnastics and marathon running. As such, Japan is pushing for the finals to be in the evening local time.

Per IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell, “There is always a balance of desires in terms of timing from different stakeholders. Swimming also has an impact on the other disciplines in the Aquatics Centre and any changes to the swimming schedule has a knock-on effect on the other two.

“There is a little bit of a jigsaw to work through there but from our side there are no issues.”

McConnell also said, “As we know from previous Games like in Beijing and Rio, we do have to make some adjustments to the timings to balance the global audience.” (Inside the Games)

At the last Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, prelims began at 1pm local/10am Eastern each day, with semifinals/finals beginning at 10pm local/7pm Eastern.

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Becky D
6 years ago

FINA recommends swimming schedule to accomodate the American audience.
Americans who care about swimming express outrage.
Americans who don’t care about swimming don’t care.

Coach Mike 1952
6 years ago

Here we go yet again, just like for Rio.

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
6 years ago

or Beijing

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
6 years ago

And then the American channel didn’t even show the Rio finals live in some parts of the USA anyway ! Ridiculous

Olympic Finals fueled by Espresso
6 years ago

If the Olympics were the movement it claims to be, people would tune in whenever finals happened. Since it’s a corrupt business and not a movement, we have this sort of bastardization of sports competitions. I feel for the athletes who have to sacrifice their performances for this idiocy.


There were still tons of WR and OR in both Beijing and Rio despite the meet start times not being considered conducive!

6 years ago

Ugh. This is infuriating. I would rather set the athletes up for the best possible performances and deal with the delay.

6 years ago

Speedo is replying “R.I.P.” to all the comments about Mizuno on their Instagram hahaha

Reply to  Cole
6 years ago


Bon Jovi
6 years ago


6 years ago

A few hundred k in the pockets of FINAcrats makes anything look like a good idea.

6 years ago


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Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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