The most controversial issue in recent swimming history has been performance-enhancing swimsuits and I can safely say I hated them.
Yes, swimming is about the gold medal and winning the titles. But traditionally swimming is also about giving the gold something extra by breaking the world record. During the swimsuit period almost any swimmer could break the world record if he had enough power and strength because the suits made it possible.
Less talented swimmers were able to swim faster. I am so happy that the suits are now banned - now we can watch the real sport again. For me I was happy that I won a couple of golds before. In Beijing though I felt like Bjorn Borg with his wooden racket! Other swimmers had an advantage because of the suits and it wasn't for me.
But now I'm happy because I'm an expert and I can analyse the races knowing what's going on, whereas with the suits, competing was impossible as almost anybody could win the race.
I do think it has left a smear on swimming though. Now if a swimmer does something special, you have to say 'okay, it's a world record in textile'. In sprint events, fly and freestyle, it's almost impossible to break those swimsuit times so you have to really improve a lot.
But, on the other hand, it helps a couple of good swimmers to get the perfect position in the water, because during the period with the suits you really had to keep your body controlled and still in the water. So the way of swimming in the suits helped some swimmers because they got a feel for the positions that minimise resistance.
Dutch former swimmer and triple Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband will be an expert consultant for Eurosport-Yahoo! during the London 2012 Games.