International Kiteboarding (Photo: KPWT/Carlos Delicado)
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today confirmed the inclusion of six new events on the programme of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014. They are ski half-pipe (men and women), women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay.
Interestingly, two out of the six events (ski half pipe) are 'new generation' events, attractive to the ever growing number of 'generation facebook' athletes and spectators, which the IOC is very interested to attract.
Even more interesting is, that 50 % of the newly added events are team or relay events, just as the IKA has proposed as a possible format for board sports in case there are only two sailing medals available for both kiteboards and windsurfers.
The Biathlon mixed relay forms national teams including both genders, the Luge team relay even includes a male, a female and a double seater for a national team, which are started though a gate mechanism once the first starter reaches the finish. Something that shouldn't be too hard to implement for boats and boards as well.
The key positive factors for adding new events and thus granting additional medals included whether the changes would increase universality, gender equity and youth appeal, and, in general, add value to the Games. Other considerations included the cost of infrastructure, and the impact on the overall quota and the number of events.
Once again kiteboarding is ticking all boxes here:
1. Kiteboarding increases universality by making sailing affordable to developing and emerging nations through low equipment and infrastructure costs. Kiteboarding would be - together with windsurfing - the cheapest of all current Olympic Classes, and it is surely the easiest to travel with. The complete equipment fits in the back of a standard car and can be taken on any plane as standard luggage, greatly reducing travel and thus campaign expenses.
2. Kiteboarding increases gender equity, as it would be run as a matched event or in a team/relay event with both male and female competitors
3. Kiteboarding has the greatest youth appeal of all current Olympic classes, looking at the Facebook and Alexa statistics. Plus it is a crowd pleaser and media attractive.
4. Kiteboarding is the most diverse sailing event and offers a perfect cross over between high performance, fun and extreme sport and thus adds unique value to the Olympic Games.
5. Kiteboarding reduces cost of infrastructure - no harbors, no moorings needed, just get of from any beach. Even storage is not necessary as competitors could take their equipment to their hotel room. Total weight: app. 10 kg.
6. Kiteboarding would not necessarily increase the athlete quota: if the Games are seen as the final of the Olympic Quadrennium for all Olympic sailing classes and the necessary participation levels can be shown in the qualifying events, then there is no need to increase the total number of athletes. This also strengthens the position of the sailing world cup and the sailing world championships.
We encourage ISAF to request another set of medals from the IOC to allow both board sports, kiteboarding as well as windsurfing, to be represented in the Olympic Games, ideally with gender separated events to showcase the full potential of our sport.
Sail-World: Yachting NZ made a submission to the International Sailing Federation to the effect outlined above regarding a process to obtain two additional medal events for Kiteboarding in the 2016/2020 Olympics. The submission has been deferred to the November Meeting of the ISAF as it was deemed non-Urgent.