The best male and female athletes of the year across FINA’s six disciplines were award tonight in Windsor, Canada, right on the riverfront overlooking the Detroit skyline (USA). The awards were handed out on the occasion of the third edition of the FINA World Aqutics Gala Diner which now has a long-time partner Chinese giant Alisports, it was announced at the beginning of the festivities tonight. The partnership will run up to 2025 (more information here).
The yearly gala pays tribute to the greatest aquatic stars of the year. Four additional awards were presented for the best swimming performances of the year as well as two special awards: the FINA award and the Alisports Award who respectively went to Michael Phelps and diving ace Ruolin Chen (CHN).
Winners have been chosen through a selection process which looks at the points collected at the most important FINA events and the Olympics. In swimming, World Records points were also taken into consideration.
he annual ceremony tonight was held in the Colosseum within the Caesar Windsor Hotel, usually used as a concert hall.
The 2016 winners are
Men: Michael Phelps
Women: Katinka Hosszú
Women: Unites States
Men: Chen Asien
Women: Shi Tingmao
Women: Svetlana Romashina
Women: Natalia Ishchenko
Men: Ferry Weertman
Women: Sharon Rouwendaal
Men: Gary Hunt
Women: Lysanne Richard
The following coaches were also rewarded on the occasion:
Bob Bowman (coach of Michael Phelps, USA)
Shane Tusup (coach of Katinka Hosszú, HUN)
Dejan Savic (coach of Team Serbia, men’s water polo)
Adam Krikorian (coach of Team USA, women’s water polo
Alex Rochas (coach of Gary Hunt GBR)
Chris Huber (coach of Lysanne Richard CAN)
Marcel Wouda (coach of Ferry Weertman, NED)
Philippe Lucas (coach of Sharon Rouwendaal, NED)
Tatiana Danchenko (coach of Svetlana Romashina and Natalia Ishchenko, RUS)
Liu Ben (coach of Chen Aisen, CHN)
Liu Ben (coach of Shi Tingmao, CHN)
Finally, the FINA Media Award of 2016 was awarded to Clémentine Blondet, from the French sport daily newspaper L’Equipe.
FINA gathered the athletes’ fresh reactions back stage.
Best male swimmer of the year: Michael Phelps (USA)
“I really wanted to finish the job and finish my career that way. That silver medal from London was haunting me I wasn’t happy with it. I wanted to take my title back. I have had so many opportunities to represent my country at the highest level. It has truly been amazing. I mean, 28 medals is still unbelievable.” “The biggest difference between London 2012 and Rio 2016 was that I enjoyed the Rio Games a lot more, I was like a kid in water.” “I said it already I will not come back in Tokyo. I started when I was 15. I wanted to change the sport of swimming. This was my goal back then. There is still more to be done. I have never been afraid to dream big. I hope we will see another kid thinking alike” “It was fun to end my career on a three people tie. It is very rare, hadn’t seen this since 2004. It is a good rivalry.”
Best female swimmer of the year: Katinka Hosszú (HUN)
“It’s quite crazy to be here tonight as the year is still not finished – in a couple of days, we start competing at the FINA World Swimming Championships!”
“To be Olympic champion was a big dream for me. As you know, I had won almost everything, only an Olympic medal was missing. It has been an amazing journey! Rio was really a special moment for me.” “Disappointments or regrets? Not really! I always try to learn from my less positive experiences and overcome them.” “Budapest 2017: I have my own specific goals, but I generally keep those for me. But I want to create a great show in Budapest, in front of my home crowd.”
Read more HERE.