AUCKLAND (#1005) – Our longtime friend and NZ editor of Sail-World.com, Richard Gladwell (NZL), has written a thoughtful and compelling piece on the 2024 Olympic Classes quandary, many would say controversy, that is facing World Sailing at their Mid-Year Meetings in London this weekend. It is a MUST READ for anyone involved in Olympic Sailing, or hoping to be. Depending on the country and classes involved, Olympic Sailing can also have a significant impact on the sport at the national and, indeed, local level if only because of the money involved from junior development to funding for Olympic candidates and even post-Olympic medalists. Richard's opening five paragraphs follow, with a link to the entire article below that....
Later this week World Sailing holds it Mid-Year Meeting in London.
The Mid-Year is usually akin to a "morning-after party" - which considers the leftover matters from the previous November's Annual Conference. It also the stage for the next Annual Conference, where the key issues are hammered out and decisions made.
One pundit has labelled this year Mid-Year Meeting as the most important in 50 years. Most informed observers would agree with that comment.
The build-up has been like watching the Titanic set course for the iceberg. In this case, the iceberg is the huge silent mass of club and international sailors, who have a high personal investment in the sport.
Already the fans have sounded a warning siren with two online petitions wanting the Review stopped. The two petitions have attracted 35,000 signatures between them. An Open Letter signed by six Olympic Medalists has also been widely circulated ahead of appearing as a two-page colour spread in the authoritative Seahorse magazine.
To see and sign the latest petition click here.
In short, World Sailing appears to be acting contrary to the expressed wishes of competitive sailors.
Read Richard's full story on Sail-World.com here.
Above, Andy Hunt (GBR), World Sailing's CEO, a non-sailor and former rugby official who was hired by World Sailing's previous president, Carlo Croce (ITA). Mr Croce was not re-elected after serving only four years, the first WS (formerly ISAF and before that IYRU) President not to serve at least two four-year terms. Between Rugby and being hired for World Sailing, Mr Hunt served four tumultuous years as CEO of the British Olympic Association. World Sailing's current president, Kim Andersen (DEN) has recently contradicted assertions by Mr Hunt who has been saying that the IOC told World Sailing "to change or be changed" – meaning dropped from the Olympics. Mr Andersen said in a recent open letter that, "In debates around the sailing world, it has been mentioned that the IOC is demanding change. I must say that this is not the case." One hears that there is increasing tension between Mr Hunt and President Andersen – a power struggle even – and it will be interesting to see how that plays out at the WS Mid-Year Meetings this weekend.