Men to compete in artistic swimming at Olympics as part of inclusivity push

Artistic swimming has been part of the Games since 1984.
Artistic swimming has been part of the Games since 1984. Photo credit: Getty Images

Men will be allowed to compete in artistic swimming at the Olympics from the Paris 2024 Games, World Aquatics said on Friday (NZ time), as part of a drive towards inclusivity hailed by athletes as the realisation of an "impossible dream".

The sport's global body said that each team of eight can have a maximum of two men at the Games according to the new rules and 10 teams are set to compete in Paris after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave its approval.

Artistic swimming was called synchronised until 2017 and has been part of the Games since 1984. But while men have competed in artistic swimming at the World Aquatics Championships since 2015, they had not been allowed to participate at the Olympics.

"The inclusion of men in Olympic artistic swimming was once considered the impossible dream," said American Bill May, the first male world champion in the inaugural mixed duet technical event at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships.

"This proves that we should all dream big. The male athletes have endured. Now, through their perseverance and the help and support of so many, all athletes may stand alongside each other equally, reaching for Olympic glory."

Italy's Giorgio Minisini, a world champion in the mixed duet technical routine in 2017 and 2022, said that the announcement was a major milestone.

"Our sport's evolution towards inclusivity is going on fast forward and this decision from IOC and World Aquatics will help us become an example for the whole Olympic movement," he said.

"As one of the most popular sports in the Games, we are ready to share the Olympic motto around the world louder than ever: 'Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together'."