By March 10th, classes and MNAs will have made their
submissions to ISAF stating which events they would
like to see in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta.
The question is... How many will be in the mood to
accept the IOC challenge to make sailing more spectator
It is a normal human reaction to resist change. Change sounds risky. Change upsets the comfortable status quo. Change is considered by some to be dangerous.
And yet, quite the reverse is very often the case.
Presenting a moving target makes it much harder for your critics to score a direct hit. in this context change must be seen as the safe option.
Grasping this principle now by selecting kiteboarding as a mixed event for 2016 will bring a completely new and fresh discipline to the the Games. It will certainly be spectator friendly just like the existing windsurfing events.
The provisional slate agreed last November set windsurfing and kitboarding against each other. To an outside observer, this looks a littler perverse in the context of ISAF's need to attract more media.
The International Olympic Committee recognises kiteboarding as a separate discipline from windsurfing and from any other discipline, and as such kiteboarding should be included in the Games just as single handed dinghies, double handed dinghies, windsurfers, multihulls and keelboats.
Equally, windsurfing has been leading the charge to adapt its format, evolve its equipment and present itself as an eye catching discipline which is relevant to the youth of the 21st century. The proof, if any is needed, can be seen in the number of young windsurfers competing in the international Techno 293 class who reported record entries at their 2010 World Championships.
Hence my question... Is there a mood for change?
If there is, at least one established class may be asked to move aside for kiteboarding
If there isn't the only option is for ISAF to go back to the IOC and ask for two more medals - the athletes quota doesnt necessarily have to change - but this will not happen before 2013, when the IOC has completed it review of the London Olympics.
In the meantime, let's not set the two sailing disciplines against each other that comply with the greatest number of demands as set out by the ISAF Olympic Commission and the International Olympic Committee.
Instead, let's encourage the ISAF delegates convening in St. Petersburg next May to focus thus on ensuring that windsurfing retains its two medals and that kiteboarding is in as a mixed event giving the small and emerging nations a third inexpensive route into the Games.