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CNN

Male athletes will be allowed to compete in Olympic artistic swimming events for the first time at the 2024 Paris Olympics, FINA, the world governing body for aquatics sports, announced on Thursday.

The news comes after the International Olympic Committee approved World Aquatics’ request to allow the inclusion of men in the Games. Artistic swimming was known as synchronized swimming until 2017.

At the Paris Olympics, men will be allowed in the artistic team swimming event. Each team is made up of eight athletes, with a maximum of two men allowed per team.

“It is a day of celebration for those who campaigned for the inclusion of men in sport at the Olympic Games and who pioneered male participation,” FINA said in a statement.

China's She Haoyu and Zhang Yiyao perform during the mixed duet freestyle final at the FINA World Championships at Alfred Hajos Swimming Complex, Budapest, Hungary in June 2022.

Men have been allowed to compete in this sport at the World Aquatic Championships since 2015.

“Aquatic sports are universal and men have proven to be excellent artistic swimmers,” World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam said of the rule change.

“I can’t wait to see this new dimension of artistic swimming being shared with the world in Paris. The inclusion of men in artistic swimming is a big credit to all who have worked for many years to make it happen.

Christina Jones and Bill May of the United States pose with their gold medals after the mixed pair synchronized swimming technical final at the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia in June 2015.

US athlete Bill May, who became the first winner of the mixed duet technical event alongside Christina Jones in 2015, welcomed the historic announcement.

“The inclusion of men in Olympic artistic swimming was once considered an impossible dream,” May said.

“It proves that we all have to dream big. The male athletes endured. Now, thanks to their perseverance and the help and support of so many people, all athletes can stand side by side equally, to achieve Olympic glory,” added May.

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