Kim Andersen: Setting the facts straight
Published on June 20th, 2019
When the Olympic sailing program for Paris 2024 was selected, changes made within the ten events were to better meet the directives provided by the Olympic Agenda 2020 that the International Olympic Committee had published in 2014.
One of the notable changes was the removal of the One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) men’s event for which the Finn Class had been the chosen equipment since 1952. This came as a significant disappointment to the class and its members, and there have been repeated efforts to shine an unfavorable light on this decision.
However, facts can be omitted, and after the sailors at the 2019 Finn World Masters sent World Sailing President Kim Andersen an open letter on the topic of this change, he sought to clarify the selection procedure. Here is his statement:
The process of selecting the Olympic Events and Equipment for the Olympic Games is outlined in World Sailing Regulation 23. In November 2017, World Sailing’s Council, the main decision-making body of World Sailing, voted, with a clear majority, for Submissions, proposals to change regulations, setting the framework in selecting Olympic Events for the 2024 Olympics.
A slate of Events was approved in May 2018 and a Mixed One-Person Event was part of this. Between May and November no recommendation or solution was found on how to conduct the Event and many of our Member National Authorities expressed concerns that the Mixed One-Person Dinghy Event would not work as a format and the selection of the Equipment would not be possible.
During the 2018 Annual Conference in Sarasota in November 2018, no solution proposed by any committee included the Finn as part of the Event.
The voting process referred to was not a vote about the Finn or against the Finn, it was about changing the Mixed One-Person Dinghy Event. Not having a solution for the Event and proposing a Mixed Two-Person Offshore Event fitted the framework of electing Events agreed earlier in the process. So much for the process.
It is vital that the whole Sailing Community understands the facts and processes followed which have got us to this point.
In World Sailing, the decisions made have to pass through the respective committees who in turn make recommendations to the Council, the main decision-making body of World Sailing, and these are finally ratified at the Annual General Meeting. The actual voting has been consistent in the process with a clear majority from 2017 to November 2018.
I believe a lot of MNAs (Member National Authorities) have different views and priorities but at the same time they recognize the importance of developing our sport, using its Olympic status and in the process and the possibilities provided by the IOC Agenda 2020.
The events for the Paris 2024 Olympics are:
• Promoting the diversity of our great sport – we feature every discipline including Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Catamarans/Multihulls, Singlehanded & Double Handed Dinghies, Skiff and Offshore sailing;
• Promoting universality in all the events measured on continents and nations;
• Increasing women’s participation, gender equality on athletes and events/medals;
• Showcasing new events – Kite relay, mixed teams racing and offshore sailing.
The dilemma for our Olympic venue is that we only have 10 medals and 350 sailors to showcase sailing, but by continuing with the status quo we are not doing the job of developing our great sport.
We as a Sailing community have recognized that in order to stay relevant, we need to adapt as a sport.
I am sure that the concerns listed in your letter are concerns known to Committee, Council, and members of the Annual General Meeting and have been given serious consideration.
Other sports have had to make “sacrifices” for development, for example rowing not having light-weight disciplines, but adopting Gender equality.
As a President and Board Member, I am bound by decisions of the Council and Annual General Meeting.
The participation and high standards of the Finn Masters is a proof of a strong Class. The Finn Class is a great class and will continue to be a great class!
Source: World Sailing