Sir Richard Branson has been a long time and high profile supporter of getting Kiteborading into the Olympics, and will do anything for a photo-opportunity
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has confirmed the final event and equipment selections for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
After a long and heated discussion with lots of enthusiasm for both sports, ISAF Council voted with a 19 to 17 majority that Kiteboarding will replace windsurfing for the men's and women's board events.
ISAF President Göran Petersson stated, that 'Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games.'
Sir Richard Branson, one of the IKAs Olympic Ambassadors and supporters from the very first minute added: 'Well we all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio ! Kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport! To celebrate this, myself, my family and a few friends will this week attempt to kite across the English Channel to show off the beauty of kite-surfing.'
In November 2011 an evaluation group was appointed to examine kiteboarding formats with the board events for Rio 2016 defined as 'windsurfing and/or kiteboarding'. The Evaluation Group recommended that kiteboarding be included in the ISAF Event family including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships but Council went one step further and selected Kiteboarding for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition as well.
IKA Executive Secretary said: 'The decision today will change the lives of thousands of kiteboarders that now can live their Olympic dream. The National Sailing Associations will invest hundred thousands, if not millions of Euros to invest in equipment, coaching and supporting the riders to go to the Olympic Qualification events. We never thought that we will get that far in so short time.'
Kristin Boese, 9x Kiteboarding World Champion and also lobbying for Kiteboarding in the Olympics Campain during the ISAF mid-year meeting in Stresa concluded: 'I still can't really believe what happened! There was a lot of support for kiteboarding in the ISAF council room yesterday but we thought we were not going to stand a chance against windsurfing which is such an established class within the ISAF. After the council debate was over we knew that the decision was going to be a lot closer than we had originally expected, but we still never thought it was going to go our way. It is an incredible surprise and I am very excited for kiteboarding and incredible greatful for all the hard work the IKA has put into the Kiteboarding in the Olympics campaign - what an amazing campaign to have been a part of.'
Appendix B - Performance - Kiteboarding - Technical Report
The events to be contested at the 2016 Olympic Games are confirmed as:
Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Men's One Person Dinghy (heavy) - Finn
Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Men's Skiff - 49er
Women's skiff - 49er FX
Mixed Two Person Multihull - Nacra 17
These ten events will be featured in the 2012-2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup which kicks off in Melbourne in December and will come together in Santander, Spain in 2014 for the ISAF Sailing World Championships.
The International Kiteboarding Association is an international class of the International Sailing Federation.
ISAF Evaluation Report http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/EC8bKiteboardingEvaluationReport-%5B12443%5D.pdf!click_here
ISAF Technical Report http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/EC8bKiteboardingTechnicalReport-%5B12451%5D.pdf!click_here