London Olympics to showcase strength of aquatic sports

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu interview

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu believes the London 2012 Olympic Games will demonstrate to the sporting world the passion, talent, excitement and innovation of the burgeoning aquatics sector.

As one of the driving forces of the Olympic Movement, aquatics have unsurprisingly been amongst the hottest tickets at the Games. Swimming and diving competitions were among the very first sporting events to sell out, while such was the demand for synchronised swimming that London 2012 had to offer 10,000 ticket-holders an alternative sporting event.

Marculescu was taken aback by the level of public interest when he attended the Olympic test events at London’s new state-of-the-art 17,000-seat Aquatics Centre, and he expects more of the same when the Games get underway later this month.

“We are one of the pillars of the Olympic Games and in London it will be one of the best ever events,” Marculescu said.

“All 15 days of the competition have sold out for aquatic sports though, so we could do with double the number of seats in the Aquatics Centre!

“At the test events the enthusiasm from the public was fantastic. I have been in my position for seven editions of the Olympics, and I can honestly say the enthusiasm for the London Games is special. We are delighted to be a part of that by bringing as usual an additional value to the Games.”

Marculescu is relishing the prospect of the pool’s top competitors shining at the iconic Aquatics Centre, which at a height of 150ft is one of most striking new sporting venues on the London skyline.

“The most important thing is to have stars, and the interest is there because of them,” he said. “In London I’m sure the starts of swimming likes of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and others will excite the crowds, and then of course in diving you have guys like Tom Daley, who are fantastic.

“Interest in the aquatics events at the Olympics, and the FINA World Championships, is definitely increasing, and we are getting stronger around the world.”

Next year’s FINA World Championships will take place in the 1992 Summer Olympics host city of Barcelona in Spain, and the 2015 Championships will be staged in Kazan, Russia.

Marculescu, and FINA, are working towards an initiative to engage the wider public in an innovative new way at the Kazan event in three years’ time.

“We are looking to enlarge the FINA World Championships by including the FINA World Masters Championships, such as mass participation event,” he said. “In Kazan, it would be great to have all together more than 12,000 – 13,000 participants participating in all five FINA aquatic disciplines. Such change in dimension of the FINA major event would for sure bring an important economic impact to the host city and promote our sport even further.”

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