Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mark Foster reveals in an insightful article why the lack of notable male swimmers in Great Britain!

Mark Foster analysis is both concise and bullet proof. He articulates the problems that are currently plaguing men's swimming in Great Britain and these problems are about to hit the United States hard.

The most powerful line in the entire article: "...You could get to your late 20s, dedicate your life to the sport, walk away and say, I didn't earn a living..."

From BBC Sport:

We have to get male swimmers engaged enough, early enough. Keep them in a sport which, ultimately, does not pay unless you are the best in the world. In football, you can be an average player and earn good money from the sport, but in swimming you have got to be the best.

Swimming's dirty little secret is that it is a sport completely controlled by ad hoc monopolies. FINA is on the top all the while running the show like a multilevel marketing scam. The money moves quickly to the top but the swimmers scramble below to catch the pennies that fall out of their pockets.

Swimming was once considered an extreme sport. Ticker-tape parades were held for those that swam across the English channel. I was told by, Bill Ireland, in days gone by that each year 50,000 people would show up to watch an open water swim in Boston. Swimmers even became movie stars because swimming was the "Ironman" or the "X-Games" of it's day. Now it is a sport that happens every four years.

Solution: A new governing body has to step up and embrace all the economic opportunities that the "old boy" governing bodies resist. This includes tech-suits, gambling, and even venue changes where traditional races held in rectangle pools suddenly take place in beautiful and exotic locations like an azure blue bay in Fiji or a hot springs in Iceland during a blizzard.

Pools have to be redesigned for better spectator viewing pleasure so the fans and gamblers can enjoy the swimming from beneath the water instead of above it. i.e. Imagine a pool with a glass bottom in the shape of a "contact lens." Imagine viewers seated or standing beneath this giant "lens" watching the swimmers swim by above their heads. This "contact lens" would magnify the size of and the athletes making them look like "mighty giants" as they past above and you. (See the photo illustration I made below as an example. That's Dara Torres who would look 16-feet long as she swam by.

What I saying here is that the spectacle of the swimming has to be magnified so people get all of the suffering and the subsequent accomplishment.

All of the above would make swimming exotic, sexy, marketable, profitable and compelling. I envision fans paying top dollar to see a 16-foot-tall, three-foot wide Chloe Sutton racing an equally statuesque Laure Manadou in a 400-free. Imagine an Milord Cavic racing Michael Phelps and seeing the expressions on their faces as they gasp for the wall!


Anonymous said...

I love that idea. That would be amazing. Don't know if the swimmers would like that though - I mean, all of those people gawping lol.

Tony Austin said...

I am toying with the idea of making a 3D model of the venue.

Colm H said...

Always enjoy your alternative insights. Anything that encourages mass participation in swimming should be promoted.Agree the athletes such be top of queue earnings wise, not the pencil pushers.It's such a physically and mentally demanding sport, it deserves greater compensation. Swimming has no hiding place for under performance,unlike pampered and overpaid soccer players...

Tony Austin said...

Like David Beckham for the L.A. Galaxy. ;-)