Remember a few months back when we really excited about kiteboarding being introduced as an Olympic event at the 2016 Rio Olympics? Well, sadly that dream only lasted a few short months and was dramatically reversed last week at the Annual General Meeting of the International Sailing Federation, crushing the hopes of all professional and aspiring kiteboarders. Don’t get us wrong, we are happy for all windsurfers out there, who were surely just as dismayed when they were originally scrapped from the Olympics. All in all, it seems unfair how this situation was handled.
Kiteboarding… or did we mean windsurfing?
Apparently what happened was that there were some “language difficulties” when the voting occurred originally back in May 2012. (Hmmmm… *scratching head*)
This lead to a revote and reversal of the decision at the Nov 9 Annual General Meeting of the International Sailing Federation held in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, where now suddenly 51.3% of the voting body favored windsurfing ahead of kiteboarding as an Olympic event. In the months between May and Nov the windsurfing community had campaigned heavily to have the decision reversed, a wish that was apparently granted.
Reactions and Future
Of course, all Kiteboarding organizations and professionals have humbly accepted this bad news with optimism for the future. The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) stated on their website: “We feel with all the kiteboarders out there that hoped to live their Olympic dream already in 2016, but we respect the final decision of the worlds governing body and wish the windsurfers all the best in Rio de Janeiro. We will continue our journey – promised.”
Kitesurf Tour Europe (KTE) wrote on their website: “Saturday evening in Dublin was an experience. Regarding the decision – so what. We started setting up such a wonderful sport in 2001 and it`s not a problem at all but a corner on our way.”
In our opinion, after this massive blunder, it is unlikely that this will be reversed any time soon. Imagine the mindf**k: ISAF says yes, ISAF says no, then ISAF says yes again? The only possible way it could happen is if they finally brought both kiteboarding and windsurfing to the Olympics. This also seems highly unlikely considering that it would either come at the expense of another sailing event or that two more event slots would have to be assigned to the sailing category.
But of course we must stay hopeful. At least the dialogue is there and at least we came close to it once. The kiteboarding community is growing worldwide and non-kiteboarders also enjoy watching our sport. Kiteboarding organizations across the globe will continue to champion this cause without backing down.
There is also a grassroots facebook movement called “Get Kiteboarding Into The Olympics” available here, for those of you that want to get involved.