Andy Hunt: Plotting the Road Forward
Published on October 24th, 2016
Rio 2016 might be over but the road to Tokyo 2020 marks a big potential change for all Olympic sports. World Sailing’s chief executive Andy Hunt speaks on this issue…
This is a really important moment for the Games. It’s important because the International Olympic has clearly set out its Agenda 2020 and that is something that international sports federations like ourselves need to take account of. It’s about gender equality, it’s about innovation, it’s about youth appeal in terms of events that we propose to the IOC, and it’s about sustainability in keeping cost and complexity down.
I don’t think Sailing is at risk of moving out of the Games. I think we’re a core sport with a fantastic tradition and with a great partnership with the IOC. But we need to listen very carefully to where the Games model is going and we need to adapt and evolve our sport.
That doesn’t mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater or doing away with tradition at all. It just means carefully making decisions to make sure that we have both events and equipment that are very appealing to where the Games will be in four years’ time.
We all know that the end audience consumes sport in a completely different way to the way it consumed it even for years ago in London. What will not be like by the time we get to 2020? So we as a sport need to be very cognizant of that.
While Sailing is not part of the 2020 Paralympic Games, that doesn’t mean we’ve given up (getting the event back into the Paralympic Games). Far from it. The toughest thing of all is the next 18 months because the high performance funding that goes into the nations to physically get boats to events, to pay for athletes to train, to provide coaching for athletes …that will go. So actually that’s the important part – how do we fill that gap?
How do we make sure we got a minimum of thirty two nations from three continents competing regularly in 2017 and 2018, and a course for us beyond? Because that commitment isn’t just for that period. We’re going ahead with this regardless. This is hugely important to us. We’re going to do whatever we can in our power to make that happen.