Beijing Olympics

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps answers reporters' questions wearing a Speedo LZR
Racer following a press conference introducing the controversial swimsuit.

Speedo Sued by Rival TYR over Record-Breaking Swimsuit

May 19, 2008 01:44 PM
by Denis Cummings
At issue is Speedo’s controversial LZR Racer swimsuit, which has helped shatter world records and caused many to question whether it provides an unfair competitive advantage.

30-Second Summary

According to the lawsuit, Speedo-sponsored USA Swimming and its coach, Mark Schubert, are encouraging swimmers to switch to Speedo’s LZR Racer swimsuit.

Schubert has allegedly said that swimmers “who do not switch to Speedo are wearing ‘inferior’ equipment and are at risk of ‘staying home’ during the Beijing Olympics because of the inferiority of their equipment.”

The LZR has dominated swimming competitions since its February 12 release. Thirty-seven swimmers wearing the LZR have broken world records, compared to just four wearing other suits.

With just months until the Beijing Olympics, many swimmers are deciding whether to break team or individual sponsorships and switch to the LZR.“The choice is clear,” writes Eurosport, “risk wearing a swimsuit that might be slower than your competitors, or break with your sponsor and bid for Olympic gold wearing Speedo's LZR Racer.”

The LZR has angered many traditionalists, who feel that the suit provides too great of an advantage. Italian coach Alberto Castagnetti has called it “technological doping.”

Some have called for it to be banned, claiming it improves buoyancy and thus qualifies as a performance-enhancer. However, Speedo was careful to create the suit within FINA’s strict guidelines and it is unlikely the suit will be banned from the Olympics.

Coincidentally, the lawsuit was filed on the same day that Oscar Pistorius, “The Fastest Man on No Legs,” won the right to compete in Olympic qualifications. He had been banned because his prosthetic legs were ruled to give him an unfair advantage.

Headline Link: Speedo sued

Reactions: Vendt’s agent strikes back, Phelps’ LZR snaps

Background: The record-breaking LZR

Opinion & Analysis: The fairness of the LZR

Related Topics: Oscar Pistorius

Reference: Speedo’s LZR Racer


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