After negotiations with the International Olympic Committee and FINA in Switzerland, the Mexican Olympic Committee (COM) has announced that its aquatics athletes will be allowed to compete under the flag of Mexico and, in the event of a gold medal, the Mexican national anthem will be played.
Earlier this year, FINA announced a suspension of the Mexican Federation (FMN) over the national organization’s failure to pay a $5 million fine associated with its withdrawal as hosts of the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships.
While FINA was tight-lipped on the length of the suspension or the ramifications of the suspension, Mexican athletes said at the time that the most visible impact would be that Mexican swimmers, divers, water polo players, and synchronized swimmers would compete under the FINA flag at all FINA-organized competitions, which was to include the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“After several negotiations I conducted last week with the IOC and FINA in Lausanne, our petition was accepted that our country involved integrating water activities as part of the national team under the colors and patriotic symbols in competitions and official events,” COM president Carlos Padilla Becerra announced at a press conference bound by IOC president Thomas Bach and FINA president Julio Maglione.
Padilla Becerra says that allowing athletes to compete under the flag of Mexico and to wear their official Mexican uniforms will prevent them from wearing clothes with cartoons and other mocking drawings instead, as has been reported to have happened at recent FINA events like the Diving World Cup and the synchronized swimming test event.
Padilla Becerra says that the organization’s legal fight against the fine and the ensuing suspension will continue to run its course in court.
While Mexico did not advance any pool swimmers out of the preliminary rounds at last summer’s World Championships in Russia, their women’s synchro teams each qualified for finals in all 5 team events, and also won a pair of diving medals. Jonathan Paredes won silver in the men’s high-dive (which is not an Olympic event), and team of Iván García and Germán Sánchez also took silver on the synchronized platform (which is an Olympic event).