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CAS Clears Bodysuits

May 2, 2000

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has agreed with FINA and cleared the way for the bodysuits to used by swimmers.

FINA's controversial decision to allow swimmers to use the suits was being challenged at the CAS by the Australian Olympic Committee.

The original concern regarding the suits was that FINA may have breached its own rules regarding the use of devices by swimmers that "may aid speed, buoyancy or endurance" in competition. FINA had previously determined that the swimsuits were not a device or technical equipment.

While the CAS ruling did back the FINA position, it did not clarify the issue of whether or not the suits constitute, devices that "may aid a swimmer's speed, buoyancy or endurance".

In the ruling handed down by CAS member Richard McLaren of Canada, the ruling stated that it is "not for CAS to offer an opinion" on whether the suits are actually performance enhancing or not.

This of course still leaves open the entire question of whether the suits are in fact performance enhancing or not.

As a result the Australian Olympic Committee has informed Australian Swimming that the situation was still unresolved.

It leaves open the potential for a swimmer to question the performances of other swimmers who may be competing wearing the suit, by arguing that the suits offered an unfair advantage by being performance enhancing and that the results would be unfair, since he or she did not compete in such a suit.