7 Aug 2008

Australia criticise IOC over finals switch

7:36 am on 7 August 2008

Australia's swimming chief has criticised the International Olympic Committee for switching the Beijing swimming finals from evening to morning to suit big-spending American broadcaster NBC.

Head coach Alan Thompson says the IOC has been disloyal to the sport by allowing the change to ensure American Michael Phelps's quest for a record eight gold medals has a prime-time viewing audience at home.

He says it shows loyalties are lacking in sport and often money talks too loudly.

The IOC came under heavy criticism from swimmers, coaches and broadcasters when it agreed in 2006 to move finals to the morning to suit NBC, which paid $3.55 billion for exclusive US media rights to the lympics from 2000-2008.

Phelps, who won six gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, is aiming to beat Mark Spitz's record haul of seven golds at a single Olympics.