End of Olympic Era for Finn Class
Published on November 4th, 2018
Among the difficult decisions at the 2018 World Sailing Annual Conference (Oct 27 to Nov 4) was the development of the Sailing program for the Paris 2024 Olympics. To fulfill the directive from the International Olympic Committee, which was for equal participation and events for men and women, and to deliver a compelling competition, changes were needed.
With the need for change weighing on World Sailing after the Rio 2016 Olympics, the decision for Tokyo 2020 was made for no change to the events to protect the investment of athletes and nations. While admirable, the International Olympic Committee penalized Sailing by reducing the entry number from 380 to 350 athletes.
In fear of further reduction, and to solidify the long-term position of Sailing in the Olympics, change could no longer be avoided. Thus, for Paris 2024, the 10 events in the Sailing program will be:
Men’s and Women’s Singlehanded Dinghy
Men’s and Women’s Doublehanded Skiff
Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer
Mixed Doublehanded Catamaran
Mixed Doublehanded Dinghy
Mixed Offshore Keelboat
Decisions must still be made as for the equipment types and race format, but the significant casualty in the new event program is the elimination of the Finn, the most senior of the Olympic classes having been in the Games since Helsinki 1952.
Balazs Hajdu, President of the International Finn Association (IFA), offers his sentiment:
“The IFA is extremely disappointed to see the decision taken today at the World Sailing AGM in Sarasota, USA, to exclude any event options for the Finn in favour of adopting the Mixed Two-Person Keelboat.
“Most of all we are very disappointed for the many committed Finn sailors affected by this decision, especially the young sailors who have had their campaign ambitions for 2024 cruelly shattered.
“We feel the Finn class has become collateral damage in the quest for gender equality and Olympic TV rights income for World Sailing.
“It is a great injustice that many of the best athletes in the sport of sailing no longer have an avenue to the Olympics, and we honestly feel the Olympics will be poorer as a result of the exclusion of the Finn.
“We know the Finn class will continue to thrive and for the time being we will focus on supporting our athletes as they prepare for Tokyo 2020. In the coming months, the IFA will work towards finding a way back for the Finn on the Olympic programme.”