It has been a really interesting month for me. On May the 5th ISAF (International Sailing Federation) announced that wind surfing in 2016 Olympics would be replaced by kite surfing.
A shockwave went around the world as the windsurfing community was all told in March at the world championships by the ISAF events committee that windsurfing was safe and the events committee had voted in favor of windsurfing 14 to 2. So, there was a very clear vote in favour of keeping windsurfing, and a great recommendation to ISAF to keep RS:X. The ISAF events committee is a specialist group in charge of analyzing classes for 2016 and for the future plan of sailing that had been developed. In light of the IOC recommendations that sailing needs to be more visual for television, more portable, good universality, gender equality, cheaper with infrastructure, minimize risk and other relevant topics for sport in this modern world.
Just hours after the announcement the reality of that decision spread throughout the sailing world and the social media platforms were alive and well as people got to express their opinions on the situation.
As the weeks unfolded one of the council members has apologized for voting the wrong way and many national federations have now publically announced their objection to the way their member voted.
What is highlighted is that ISAF had not done due diligence in presenting the findings to the members, facts were not presented clearly, passion and emotion charged the room and the vote was made. The kiting community at first was in shock by this early decision and now the sailing world is scrambling to understand how to make this new sport of kite racing Olympic. Whilst the windsurfing community are now scrambling to try and save what on paper looks like one of sailings leading classes in all of IOC recommendations.
During this meeting four new classes were selected out of the 10 Sailing classes. I don’t know many businesses that would in 24 hours change their business by 40% and make thousands of it’s stakeholders unemployed and cost them millions of dollars!! It is really quite astounding especially when two of these replacements were leading the charge in IOC recommendations. This is where sport is so different to business.
In November the council will meet again and a submission will be presented that windsurfing should be back in then a vote will occur and if there is 75% majority in agreement there is a slim chance that my sport will back in the games.
I have many opinions on this matter but have to be very careful in the world of blogging and social media as things get taken out of context. All I know if ISAF doesn’t review their processes of governance they may find themselves in a compromising position come reevaluation of the Olympic programme.