New reality show featuring professional swimmers to launch in lieu of 2020 Olympics

The International Swimming League (ISL) – backed by Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin – is proposing an international reality TV competition for professional swimmers who will miss out on their Olympic dreams this year due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The ISL said it will organise an “innovative training and competition experience for athletes and coaches” across four to five weeks later in the year, which will form the basis of “an exciting new reality concept”.

The ISL wants to take on FINA’s swimming monopoly

The proposed dates are 14 October to 17 November.

“The global exposure of this event will furthermore enhance the athletes’ profiles and increase the popularity of our sport,” ISL said in a statement. “We strongly believe that this event, never before seen in swimming history, will serve as a demonstration of solidarity, humanity and unity of the swimming community to the entire world.”

According to interviews in The Daily Telegraph today, Grigorishin is proposing to hold the event in Australia, likely the Gold Coast, with the best 320 swimmers from around the world.

A prize haul of $8m is reportedly up for grabs.

“Our approach is we consider athletes as our partners, so before we made this decision, we asked them what they wanted [and] this is what they told us. So it’s a swimming camp, it’s a competition and its a reality show rolled into one,” he told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.

The competition would be aimed at helping the swimmers return to peak form ahead of the rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

There is no word yet on which outlet would broadcast the reality format, however Grigorishin said there is already strong interest from business partners in Australia.

Seven had the broadcast rights to this year’s postponed Olympic Games.


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