Forget every other controversy that’s taking over the Olympics right now – we have our first official Rio Games conspiracy theory.
Researchers are questioning whether a current in the pool may have given a distinct advantage to certain swimmers in 50 metre races.
Joel Stager, director of the Indiana University’s Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, and two researchers told the Wall Street Journal that results seem to indicate that swimmers in higher numbered lanes swim with a current, giving them an unfair advantage over those in the lower numbered lanes.
On the contrary, those swimming in the opposite direction showed a reverse effect. On longer races where swimming more than one lap is required, swimmers in the lower-numbered lanes had a boost on the return.
In the Rio results from the men’s and women’s 50m heats, researchers found that almost all those who qualified for the final swam in lanes four to eight.
Athletes who then moved to the lower-numbered lanes showed a decrease in performance, with only one medallist in the 50m swim coming from the lower numbered lanes.
And this seems to be a reoccurring problem – the same team published similar findings back in 2013 during the World Championships in Barcelona, the Guardian reports.
The chairman of the company who built the pools at both the 2013 World Championships and this year’s Olympic games, Myrtha Pools, said:
We were required to do tests to show that there was no movement of water, and the tests were conclusive that there was no movement of water.
If we saw there was a current, we’d have done something about it. There was no indication whatsoever.
FINA, the global governing body of swimming, is reportedly reviewing these findings.
If the theory is true, this is major. They should probably get that fixed ASAP.