USA “Impossible” Option to Host 2017 Worlds After Mexico WIthdraws

With the still-fresh announcement by the Mexican Swimming Federation that it has pulled out of hosting the 2017 FINA World Aquatic Championships, an article this week in the Chicago Tribune reveals that the possibility of the United States being named as the new host of the multi-sport event is extraordinarily slim.

USA Swimming’s Executive Director, Chuck Wielgus, expressed in the piece that, “We would love to host a long course world championships in the United States, but the economic requirements make it impossible for us to seriously consider.”

The estimated $80 million price tag tied to managing the entire competition, which includes swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water, is certainly the event’s biggest detraction.  The possibility of breaking even on such an encompassing event is estimated to be nil, providing little incentive to countries with sluggish economies.

Economics is precisely on what Mexico based its withdrawal, citing the high cost of hosting the event specifically within the context of its weakened position in the world market due to falling oil prices.  The country settled on paying the $5 million withdrawal penalty to FINA rather than furthering its investment two years out from the competition.

With a four-to-six year search now being reduced to just a two-year undertaking, FINA must now quickly search for a replacement venue for the world’s biggest non-Olympic aquatics event.  The paper does point to Qatar, the site of the 2014 FINA Short Course World Championships, as a possible replacement host country, but nothing definitive has been released.

The United States has never hosted the long course version of this meet, which is the bigger and more visible of the two swimming world championship events hosted by FINA.

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Mark Cianciolo

I would say Dubai has the best chance at saving this, but i would like to know what happens to the 9.5 million dollars Mexico has already spent on the event and what will happen to the 5 million more to Fina in fines? Will that be invested back into this event in grants to the next host?

How did we get to this point? How did we make this become so extravagant that it became a deficit event? Do we really need to build all new accommodations and pools for such an event? Do we really need to host all of these sports at the same time, in the same place?


I was curious about the same thing. Why do we need to host swimming, sync, water polo, open water, and diving all at once? i’m sure if you split those up it becomes easier to pay for. while I get it diving, and sycn may not get the same draw as water polo or swimming but it seems they are taking an all or nothing approach and it could hurt.

mcmflyguy – splitting them up would increase costs. Might allow more cities to host, but costs would go up. More first class plane tickets, more 5 star hotel rooms, more signage, more banners, more sending those things all around the world, Moving television crews around to different places…

The IOC has recognized the problem, that the financial burden on host cities is out of control. FINA needs to pick up on that too. “Who can put on the best event for the cheapest” should weigh more heavily in bidding process, not “who can afford to put on the event that we demand to have.”


I agree. We need to go little bit backwards, which is not always a bad thing, and have a little bit less “first class” experience with its high cost and requirements for everything. Same goes for the Olympics. With little repair and polishing Brazil had fully reasonable venues for water sports already in place. In my opinion, World Championships and the Olympics should reflect the host more, its culture, interests and atmosphere. It makes it almost boring to see only glistering new venues with a danger of turning into white elefants after just one meet. In a country A a huge swimming venue may be reasonable while in a country B it is not. As long as it’s possible to… Read more »


It appears that going forward a few select sites will have to host the competitions rotating each year. All involved will have to pay into a pool that will support the events. Many countries can ill afford to build a massive venue that ultimately looses money and becomes either obsolete or underutilized (take note of expenses for Olympic venues)


It appears the terrorists have won.


You mean FINA?

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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