|Bill May and Christine Jones won gold in mixed duet tech at the 2015 FINA World Championships.|
FINA has proposed adding mixed duet and additional teams in the team event at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The proposals were made last week at the SportAccord Convention in Lausanne, Switzerland. FINA, swimming's international governing body, also proposed several changes to swimming, open water swimming, diving, high diving and water polo.
Mixed duet was introduced at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Team USA's Bill May won two medals, earning gold with Christina Jones in mixed duet tech and silver with Kristina Lum Underwood in mixed duet free.
"I think this is really exciting for the mixed duet and for USA Synchro. We would love to have the mixed duet as an Olympic event," USA Synchro CEO/High Performance Director Myriam Glez said. "I believe the Japanese will be supportive of this since synchronized swimming is such a high-profile sport in Japan. This is a great opportunity for our mixed duet and a possibility for the USA to participate in two or three events in 2020."
May, who hopes to compete at the 2020 Games if mixed duet is part of the program, said adding mixed duet to the Olympics would help grow the sport.
"I think the inclusion of mixed duets as an Olympic sport is a huge step in the growth of synchronized swimming," he said. "I truly believe without diversity, a sport cannot grow. Just by adding men, you're adding numbers and showing that synchronized swimming is not just a woman's sport. I feel as though there is a push for the evolution of the sport in many ways.
"Also, I think the mixed duet received such worldwide support at the World Championships in 2015 that people want to see this event in the Olympic Games. It is a brand new side of synchronized swimming that encourages even more athleticism and artistry. It is a new style that cannot be compared to a female/female (or male/male) duet, but rather celebrated as a new event in the sport."
FINA proposed to increase the number of participating nations from eight to 12 in the team event and to add the mixed duet event with 12 duets.
The International Olympic Committee will determine its final list of events for the 2020 Games this summer.
Read more about the proposals here.