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1 December 2003, 03:37 pm
Olympic Challenges and Non-Olympic Class Administration
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The President Speaks

Sailors must face the reality of what ISAF must do and what we are doing with regard to facing the Olympic Challenges while turning more self-administration over to the individual non-Olympic Classes.
ISAF has put forth a submission which will hopefully put all ISAF Class Rule changes in the hands of the various classes to change as the sailors wish within broad guidelines. The previous system of having to wait once a year for an ISAF Committee to pass it will be dispensed with. The Etchells, Snipe, FD, Farr 40 or any other non-Olympic Class will have more control over their own rules to change when they feel appropriate.

The Olympics is a different story and the event is owned by the International Olympic Committee and all technical aspects are in the hands of ISAF and the athletes are in the hands of the relevant National Olympic Committee. To take issue with Olympic decisions and relate them to broadbase sailing issues is instigating a non-relevant inflammatory debate. The Olympic Classes choose to be in the Olympics and in doing so subject themselves to extreme scrutiny.

Doping is a very good example. ISAF has no control over the testing for performance enhancing drugs and WADA can change the list or the testing procedures whenever they want. ISAF and Olympic athletes must accept that situation. It is the same situation ISAF has with measurement issues or formats.

In Athens, ISAF will institute swing tests on Ynglings, exhaustive tests on the Mistral boards and more diligent tests on sail alterations even to impounding sails after each race. ISAF has banned any electronics in coach boats and even made a more complete ban based on an "urgent submission" after the Cadiz experiences.

I have written just recently on the ISAF Website the differences of the Olympic Regatta. It in no way relates to 99% of what sailors do. ISAF must act and constantly face the challenges of the Olympic Regatta.

The ISAF submission date is 1 August. Cadiz was the World Championship of all Olympic Classes and was after this date. Issues arising out of this outstanding event brought up by sailors, media and classes can only be brought forward as urgent submission by the President to be discussed at the November AGM and are sent out to everyone. ISAF must not have a "Figure Skating Scandal" and must face up to the "Win at all costs" Olympic mentality and endeavor to keep a "level playing field".

If Farr 40 wants No Drops and the Etchells wants 6, it is up to them. The 5.5M has an event where you can only go to the finals if you have won a race. Their choice. The bottom line is that if a class wants autonomy do not become Olympic. If a class chooses to be Olympic then they must face the fact that they have partners: IOC, NOCs, MNAs, and ISAF.

Olympic Classes always have the right to not apply to be designated Olympic as ISAF never forces a class to apply.

Paul Henderson
ISAF President
Paul Henderson
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