While everybody seems to be focussed on the ongoing fight between dinghies and keelboats it should not be forgotten that the boards - kiteboards and windsurfers - are still in a different situation.
by Markus Schwendtner
One of the topics during todays council meeting was the meaning of 'mixed events' in kiteboarding or windsurfing, or, what kiteboarding and windsurfing in one event could mean.
For clarification: as two medals for each kiteboards and windsurfers seem to be unrealistic at the moment, there should be a way to showcase both sports at the Olympic Games, as they represent youth and media appeal probably more than any other sailing class, attracting a new each audience in addition to the coat-and-tie yachtsmen in the harbours.
Plus, both are as diverse as one could even think of, which meets the requirement of the IOC for more diversity as well as its requirement for reducing costs, as both classes would be by far the cheapest of any current Olympic equipment and thus allowing for stronger participation from developing and emerging countries.
A mixed - or 'team' medal - in the boards category thus means TWO competitors from ONE country fighting for ONE medal for their team. This can either be two kiteboarders (man and woman) for one medal (and two windsurfers for one of course), or one kiteboarder and one windsurfer of the same gender, again fighting for ONE medal.
Examples of other Olympic sports incorporating such competition formats are team ski jumping, team dressage and the recently introduced team luge, amongst others.
This would strengthen the idea of nations representation rather than individuals and offer something completely new to the IOC, strenghtening the value for sailing to the Olympic Games.
More importantly, it does not force both board sports to start fighting each other - with unknown outcome - but to retain windsurfing and add a new and attractive discipline - kiteboarding - to the ISAFs portfolio.
However, it requires the selection of a slate of ten events that includes a provision of 'windsurfing and/or kiteboarding' tomorrow by council - there are more than enough submissions that include this provision for every taste.
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5:48 PM Fri 6 May 2011 GMT
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