This year’s International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships in Kazan cumulated a record aggregated television viewership of 6.8 billion, it has been announced.
This official figure represents a 2.3 billion increase on the last edition of the World Championships, held in Barcelona in 2013, when the audience was 4.5 billion.
Furthermore, Kazan 2015 generated 5,728 hours of dedicated coverage, more than the total of 5,156 hours in Barcelona.
The cumulative audience is based on six platforms; live audience, delayed, repeat, highlights, news and sports magazine content.
China finished on top of the medals table at the World Championships for the first time since 1994, despite the best known member of their team, Sun Yang, failing to compete in the men’s 1500 metres freestyle final on the final day of competition.
Yang had already earned golds in the 400m and 800m freestyle events, but the 23-year-old surprised the crowd by not appearing at his blocks to defend his 1500m crown.
His withdrawal came so late that it meant he could not be replaced by first reserve Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands.
With rumours circulating about his failure to appear it was later revealed that Yang, a controversial figure in the sport having served a doping ban last year, had not competed due to a chest complaint.
He was still, nevertheless, awarded the men’s swimmer of the meet award.
Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri took full advantage of Yang’s non-appearance, setting a European record of 14min 39.67sec to take the gold medal ahead of the United States’ Connor Jaeger and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane, who finished in 14:41.20 and 14:51.08 respectively.
China ensured top spot in the final medals table by claiming victory in the women’s 4x100m medley final in 3:54.41, finishing ahead of Sweden and Australia, to end the Championships with 15 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze medals.
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