Men will be allowed to compete in artistic swimming at the Olympics for the first time in the sport’s history.

The International Olympic Committee has given its approval for World Aquatics to allow men to participate in artistic swimming – formerly known as synchronised swimming – at Paris 2024.

Men will now be eligible to compete in the team event, with the new rules permitting no more than two men in a team of eight competitors.

Men have been allowed to compete at the FINA World Aquatics Championships since 2015.

American swimmer and coach Bill May was the first-ever male world champion at the 2015 championships in the mixed duet technical and has been one of the leading voices lobbying for change.

He said having men in Olympic artistic swimming was “once considered the impossible dream”.

“This proves that we should all dream big. The male athletes have endured. Now, through their perseverance and the help and support of so many, all athletes may stand alongside each other equally, reaching for Olympic glory.”

Giorgio Minisini, one of the leading men competing in the sport and world champion in 2017 and 2022, called the announcement a “milestone”.

Manila Flamini and Giorgio Minisini of Italy compete in the mixed duet technical final at the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2019

“Our sport’s evolution towards inclusivity is going on fast forward, and this decision from IOC and World Aquatics will help us become an example for the whole Olympic movement.”

World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam said men have “proven themselves to be excellent artistic swimmers”.

“I look forward to seeing this new dimension of artistic swimming being shared with the world in Paris.

“The inclusion of men in artistic swimming is a great credit to all those who have worked for many years to make this happen.”

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