Artistic swimming: Sport will not revert to synchronised swimming, despite protests

Synchronised swimming, now known as artistic swimming
Synchronised swimming, now known as artistic swimming, has been an Olympic sport since 1984

Synchronised swimming will now be known as artistic swimming, despite an online campaign and protests from Russia's deputy prime minister.

The change was agreed by swimming's world body Fina last week, prompting Vitaly Mutko, Russia's former sports minister, to ask: "What is the point?"

He also suggested that the Russian Swimming Federation will still refer to the sport by the previous name.

An online petition also had nearly 9,000 signatures on Thursday morning.

Mutko added: "To keep the name synchronised swimming is our right, and if the [Russian Swimming] Federation itself, the coaches will want it, we will do it."

But Fina's executive chairman Cornel Marculescu said the decision will stand.

"Nothing changes, only the name, I don't see any great difficulty with that," he said. "I understand the commentary of Mr Mutko but it's no problem, we talk about the same sport anyhow."

Fina's congress voted to change the name to attract a wider audience to a sport that has recently expanded to include male competitors, and Marculescu says it will give the sport "another dimension".

However, an online petition on states that "the name change will be more of a deterrent to males than a calling card".

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