Last week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the addition of the men’s 800 freestyle, women’s 1500 freestyle, as well as the mixed 400 medley relay to the Olympic event line-up effective as of the 202 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The decision was met both with excitement and criticism around the world, with the IOC believing the events’ inclusion promotes gender equality. One swimmer vocally in favor of the changes is Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain. He spoke to the BBC just prior to the IOC’s announcement, saying he was “100% in favor” of the new schedule as it would “add spice.”
Speaking from experience, as Peaty helped GBR take mixed medley relay gold at the 2015 World Championships, the breaststroking ace says, “It’s something that would make things [at the Olympics] a little bit more fun.
“Obviously it’s very serious, but it’s great to mix things up from what they’ve been for so long as it adds a little spice and they’re great to watch.”
For Peaty, the relay means another opportunity for additional hardware, as the Loughborough athlete already competes in the men’s 4x100m medley relay and individual breaststroke events. The 22-year-old also would have undoubtedly benefited had the IOC included another proposal involving the addition of 50m events for backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Peaty holds the 50m world record and took gold in the race in Kazan.
“Everyone loves the 50s because they’re so close and tight, so the more 50s and more events the better really,” said Peaty.
Only the 50m freestyle will be contested for Tokyo 2020, but with Peaty’s, among others, opinions being heard it’s reasonable to expect this same topic to come up for Paris or LA 2024.