Swimming in the years B.J. (before Jaked) supposedly wasn’t a sport of high interest. There seemed to be a lonely warrior, Michael Phelps, on a quest to bring swimming to the main stream and into the living rooms of millions of people. The road to his 8 gold medals at the 2008 Olympics certainly took swimming out of the 4 year shadow the sport was known for. But who would have thought that this would be just the start of swimming media mania? The so called “shiny suits” made their way into swimming and with them the world record line on television looked like a technical error by the broadcaster with oftentimes the full field ahead of it.
Swimming was nothing like we knew it B.J. anymore. Legends were taken down and the rate at which world records were broken was higher than any FINA staff member possibly could hold up with. Most WR probably never officially were one as the approval process took longer than another swimmer taking down the new standard once more. I wonder if they even cared to hand out the official certificate you’ll get for a WR. FINA’s administrative expenses must have tripled at least during the shiny suit era.
And of course selling suits that regularly ripped after a single use had to be more than just a great business to be in. Let’s face the truth, most of us were not sponsored by one of the suit manufacturers and the pressure to under perform or get beaten up at a meet wasn’t an option and the dollars bills ended up wrapped around our bodies in form of one of those shiny suits.