|Sail-World received the following letter from Paul Henderson (immediate past President of ISAF, current IOC Member, and widely known as 'The Pope') correcting a statement which has been attributed to him in the Open Letter circulated by the UKCRA in support of the reinclusuion of the Multihull event in the Olympics: The reason that sailing added events to the Olympic program was to change our sport to include women in the Olympic Sailing Regatta which was a decree of the IOC.
In 1984 there were NO women's events and only two women competitors, Cathy Foster, who won the last race in the 470 and Trine Elvstrom who crewed with Paul in the Tornado. There were seven so-called 'Open Events' really for men.
By 1996 Sailing was the worse dual gender sport in the Games with only 19% women. In Athens 2004 there were 4 of 11 events for women. ISAF had got women's participation up to 35% of the participants, an admirable accomplishment for the ISAF Council.
The cutting back of sailing events by the IOC to 10 events has nothing to do with stopping some uncontrolled ISAF expansion it has to do with the IOC wanting new sports while at the same time keeping the total sports to 28, the events at 300, and athletes to 10,500.
So sailing and other sports were asked to cut back and sailing will be reduced to 10 events and 380 sailors from 11 events and 400 which is the reason for the angst at the ISAF Council.
When one discipline or event has to go it is not something done lightly and always the disenfranchised are disturbed.
Due to the IOC voting procedure there will be only 26 sports in London 2012 with the dropping of Baseball and Softball and no other sport getting enough support for inclusion.
by Paul Henderson (CAN)
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7:30 PM Fri 9 May 2008 GMT
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