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IOC says Sailing has already achieved Gender Equality

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 11 May 2018 04:33 PDT
Gintare Scheidt (LTU) tunes up in a 35kt squall before racing was abandoned - Rio Olympics © Richard Gladwell

While much is made of the need for Sailing to continue to reshuffle its Olympic Event deck to achieve gender equality, this is at odds with the information announced last June by the International Olympic Committee.

That, of course, begs the question as to why Sailing continues to be put through the wringer by its officials to achieve goals in Paris 2024 that the IOC advised in June last year had been achieved by the IOC approved Sailing program for Tokyo 2020.

Speaking at the media briefing in Lausanne for Step 3* of Tokyo2020, where the Athlete allocations are announced for all 28 Sports, IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell confirmed that Sailing was one of the six sports that has achieved gender equality for the first time in Tokyo.

Across the 28 Sports in the 2020 Olympiad, there is now 48.8% female participation.

He went on to discuss the specific shifts in each sport to achieve gender equality. Generally men's events were transferred to the women's side of the program and numbers were also subtracted from the men's side to the women's side - to provide the required degree of balance.

Before making the announcement of those sports achieving IOC's gender equality benchmark, McConnell outlined the specific gender KPI's that have achieved by the IOC and its Sports. He noted that the June 2017 Meeting was the first time the IOC had the opportunity under its Olympic Agenda2020 to look at the full event programme and athlete quotas for the 28 existing Olympic sports.

"I really want to highlight the achievements around gender equality, as I said this was a real goal going into the process [Tokyo2020] and with the decisions today of the IOC Executive Board we have reached the highest number ever of women competing at the Olympic Games, the highest number of women's events ever at the Olympic Games, it is the highest gender balance ever at the Olympic games.

"In terms of new sports reaching gender equality we have Canoe, Rowing, Judo, Sailing, Shooting and Weightlifting - all reaching gender equality for the first time in the Olympic Games."

His comment can be heard at 15m 36secs into the video clip below from the IOC Press Briefing with Kit McConnell.

In response to a question on the International Athletics Federation and the continued inclusion of two similar Events Heptathlon and Decathlon, McConnell used Sailing by way of an example.

"In some sports, we recognise that there are differences between the exact schedule between men and women. We can think of Sailing and a couple of others where there the two event programs are not absolutely mirrored but are balanced in many other ways."

*[Step 1 was the announcement of the 28 Sports that would make up the program for Tokyo2020. The second step was the announcement of the five additional sports that would be added to the program for Tokyo2020.]

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