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World Sailing Presidential Newsletter: June 2019

by Kim Andersen, President World Sailing 3 Jul 12:00 PDT
O'Leary Life Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale day 1 © David Branigan / Oceansport

Sailing the Dragon Gold Cup in Medemblik Holland in June, with close to a hundred boats on the starting line, and the Finn Masters taking place at the same time in Denmark are two examples of Sailing being a great participation sport and a true sport for life. I thoroughly enjoyed sailing the Dragon Gold Cup again: long race courses, tough competition and good camaraderie on and off shore made for a great week.

During that week I received a letter from the sailors at the Finn Masters in Copenhagen, an event hosted by my club, The Royal Danish Yacht club, regarding the changed Olympic program for the Paris Olympics 2024. You can read the letter here and see my response here.

This past week has also seen some great action in Kiel, now in its 138th year, and one of the largest sailing events in the world. As usual it attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and there was a great atmosphere.

We are now in the main season for sailing in the northern hemisphere, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a super summer with great and safe racing.

Selection of Olympic Equipment

Following the Midyear meeting we have to pave the way for a windsurfing trial to be ready for the final selection at the annual meeting in the autumn. Council voted against retaining the RS:X as the outcome of the windsurfer re-evaluation process and took into consideration the opinion of the Equipment Committee. A new recommendation has now been approved by Council by 33 votes in favor, three against and one abstention. The recommendation seeks to conduct sea trials before Council selects the equipment at the Annual Conference. World Sailing will now invite manufacturers and Class Associations to tender to be selected as the Men and Women's Windsurfer equipment to be used at the 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition. The sea trials will seek to evaluate both foiling and non-foiling equipment and their suitability to multiple formats and will include RS:X as a full option in the evaluation.

At the Mid Year meeting, the Laser and Laser Radial were selected as the one-person equipment for 2024 (subject to the class and manufacturers agreeing and aligning with the World Sailing FRAND policy). We have subsequently held a series of constructive meetings working with all the parties and license holders to agree on a common way forward to stay Olympic and to service the market by agreeing on adopting the FRAND policy of World Sailing. We hope to be able to report on a positive outcome in next month's newsletter. The Lasers are ready to race at the Test Event in Enoshima.

Events update

I am happy to report that the efforts and many meetings for solving the outstanding issues for securing our Olympic venue in Enoshima for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 have been a success, with many of the issues now solved and we have received a strong commitment from Tokyo 2020 to resolve the remaining issues. Most importantly regarding the security of the field of play, contracts are now in place for the upcoming Test Event and the Olympic Games.

We have also continued with constructive meetings with the Organising Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the coordination with Marseille is running according to plan. As a special part of the planning, the French Navy during the Hempel World Cup Series Final in Marseille, gave a demonstration on safety and security, making it clear that the Olympic sailing event and the new Offshore event are in the best of hands!

The Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships is ready to take place in Gdynia, Poland, and expects to welcome 410 sailors and 118 coaches from 64 countries to compete. All the pieces are in place to guarantee a very successful edition of this prestigious event, taking place from 13 to 21 July 2019. I'm sure it will be great competition among the young and talented sailors, and we will see future sailing heroes in action.

Following Gdynia, preparations by the CB Vela are well under way for the December 2020 edition in the city of Salvador, Bahia. In July 2021, The Hague has been selected as the city to host the Youth Worlds and will allow the Organising Committee to activate and engage the city with sailors on the Olympic pathway. These Youth World Championships are great events for young sailors to compete internationally, but they are also important as they leave a legacy for new sailors and new development programs being initiated for the benefit of attracting and developing new sailors.

Just one year later in August 2022, The Hague will come alive with Olympic class racing at the Sailing World Championships and the youth sailors will have a unique opportunity in 2021 to train and compete on the same waters as our top athletes will do a year later.

Sportcal report

Each year Sportcal undertake a full analysis and ranking of all World Championship and multi-sport events and subsequently publish an annual ranking. It's really encouraging to see that the Hempel Sailing World Championships ranked 22nd out of 84 of the largest multi-sport and World Championship events in 2018. Importantly, we can guage the work done over the past year working on improving the many elements for our major events and see that we are a long way ahead of many of the other Olympic sports world championships that sit in higher Olympic categories. Now we have to make our best efforts transforming all the knowledge and experience into our Olympic venue next year.

Click here for the Sportcal event ranking

IOC Session

The IOC celebrated its 125th anniversary and the 134th IOC session took place at the end of June. It was also the inauguration of Olympic House, a building which will host all the IOC functions and staff, and the design sets new standards of design and sustainability.

A lot of decisions were taken and new milestones set, laying out the direction and momentum for the IOC in the coming years. Thomas Bach referenced de Coubertin as a visionary who reminded us not to take stability for granted. In our world, change is the only constant. How are you changing to adapt the Olympic Movement to your world? How are you carrying the Olympic Values into the future? All recommendations of IOC Olympic Agenda 2020, which was unanimously approved, have one overarching goal: to strengthen and enhance the relevance of the Olympic Games in our world today. When the IOC Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms were adopted, the theme was to change, or to be changed.

As a consequence of the events that the Council and AGM have selected for the Olympic Games in 2024, I believe sailing is well positioned with gender and events being equal and by adopting mixed events. We have also included new events and disciplines of our sport, building universality and presenting a wider range of our sport. At the session the presentation from the host it was made clear that the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 will be the most gender equal Olympics and setting new standards. Along the lines of other important and relevant focus points for World Sailing, Sport was highlighted by the UN as an "important enabler" to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The global reach and cross-cutting nature of sport allows it to address several of the goals, ranging from health, the environment, education, gender equality through to promoting peace and many more. Most of the goals are part of the World Sailing Strategy 2018 - 2022.

World Olympians Association

At the recent Mid-Year Council meeting in London, and then communicated to you by email, we announced that World Sailing would be supporting and promoting an opportunity provided by the International Olympic Committee and the World Olympians Association (WOA) to further recognise Olympians.

The WOA launched a scheme in late 2017 allowing eligible athletes to use the title OLY after their name. This serves as a wonderful reminder of Olympians' achievements in sport, and is a great way to celebrate our sailors who have competed in an Olympic Games by becoming part of a very special network.

World Sailing would like to enable all Sailing Olympians to receive this recognition through the WOA's OLY Program and would encourage MNAs to use the opportunity of presenting the OLY pins as a way to reconnect with our Sailing Olympians and celebrate their achievements.

Further information can be found here.

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