Windsport.com

Calling BS on US Sailing's Statement

May 24, 2012

Author: sailinganarchy.com

US Sailing sent out a lengthy article in support of the decision to replace Windsurfing with Kiteboards in the Olympics. Kiwi Bruce Kendall (who won the Olympic windsurfing Gold medal in 1988, Bronze medal in 1984) is calling BS on it... and Bruce's comments are inserted in the italicised US Sailing piece below.

US Sailing Statement on Kiteboarding vs. Windsurfing
Prepared by Dean Brenner, US Sailing Board Member and Chairman, Olympic Sailing Committee


Every four years, difficult decisions are made about Olympic sailing events. The choices made always leave some part of the sailing community frustrated and feeling, at least on some level, disenfranchised. I say this as a former Soling sailor who was quite upset with decisions made in November 2000, and a long-time keelboat sailor who did not agree with the recent decisions to exclude keelboats from the Games entirely. I know, first hand, how it feels to have the part of the sport I care most about excluded.

Most will agree that fleet to match racing in keel boats being dropped from the Olympics after 2000 was a backwards step, especially considering the retention of the Star for a further 12 years. A keel boat should be in the Olympics. It is well represented placed in the para Olympics & able bodied sailors should have more opportunity to race against those handicapped sailors.
Possibly a mixed keel boat class would have been more sensible than mixed multi hull? No disrespect intended. Now that the America's Cup is on multi hull, possibly this should be the Olympic Fleet to Match racing class? All food for thought. Previous dubious decisions do not make following dubious discussions OK.

There is no right and wrong here, or good and bad. On behalf of US Sailing, I would like to raise my hand and explain the reasoning behind the votes.

History has proven there are always right & wrong decisions & some times both sides weigh equally. Wrong decisions are more likely to be made when the subject has not been thoroughly been researched or there is a vested interest. Weighing up all the facts of this decision, at this time it appears the May 5th decision to replace windsurfing with Kite racing is a wrong decision.

While the Board of US Sailing makes final decisions on all recommendations to our ISAF delegation, much of the thinking on Olympic events and equipment originates in the Olympic Sailing Committee, which I lead. The OSC believes, and I continue to support this 100%, that kites will be good for the sport of sailing, worldwide. The reasons are simple:

1. Kiteboarding is an exciting and rapidly growing area of the sport.

Kite racing is currently a small & undeveloped sport compared to windsurfing was back to the mid 1970's. It is still too early to judge if kite racing is a narrow niche sport with a low ceiling of participants & if the numbers would naturally continue to increase without the Olympic ticket.

Currently the majority of Kite retailers have not stocked kite racing boards as the evolution of design has been too fast & superseded designs have to be sold at below cost.

Most of the Kite board brands have not invested in building kite racing board molds & are waiting for the evolution to slow down as it has been too hard to sell racing boards to retailers.
The major Kite board manufacturers have not been making many racing boards for some time due to the above reasons. As a consequence, Kite racing boards are not widely available & kite racing has not been enjoying the same growth the rest of the Kite boarding market has.

2. The infrastructure required will be minimal.

This is a non argument to replace windsurfing, but... CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article on SailingAnarchy.com -- scroll down to the POV post from 05/24/12.


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