There are rumors that ISAF has received 65 or more submissions for the events of the 2016 Olympic Games. The battle is expected to be in two areas - the keelboat lobby against the dinghy lobby, and the question is what happens with the two board sports that foolishly have been pitched against each other in the provisional November slate.
International Kiteboarding (Photo: KPWT/Carlos Delicado)
Having available only 10 events for a minimum of 15 rivaling classes means that some creative thinking is necessary to resolve the problem. So lets have a look on what a mixed event in a single handed class could look like...
The first option is a team event - e.g. a male and a female competitor of each country competing for a nations medal. Racing could take place on standard courses, be it windward/leeward courses, with men and women starting together or in separate starts. In other words, something that we are doing everyday already on the water with the only difference, that the results of the mens and womens races are added up and combined into one nations ranking. Other racing formats like slalom could be implemented in the same way, and only the scoring makes these two events into one combined medal.
The second, probably even more attractive option, would be a 'mixed relay' - something really new and innovative that could please media and IOC very much. Lets think a bit outside the box - relay events are being done in many other Olympic sports, and several of them are mixed (the latest addition will be mixed biathlon relay in the next winter Olympics). Why not have something similar in Sailing?
The main issue could be the 'tagging' zone, but even this 'problem' can easily be turned into a strength, which could become a crowd and media pleaser, e.g. having the transition area on the beach, directly in front of the 'beach stadium'. Or, having the transition zone on the water close to the beach, so that the spectators can breath the action.
Surely a 'team event' could be an issue regarding the athlete quota - but again, the Olympic Games are the final, and the qualification is taking place in the Sailing World Cup and the Sailing World Championships. Reducing the fleet to the e.g. worlds top 16 teams means strengthening the importance of the Q-events, something that perfectly fits into ISAFs agenda and therefore would have a very desirable result.
A team event - be it in the format of traditional team racing and combining results, or in the format of a relay race - would surely add another piece of diversity to the Olympic Sailing Competition. Don't miss this chance to allow both board disciplines, kiteboarding and windsurfing, to be presented at the Olympic Games.