Olympics-Delegates misunderstood kiteboard vote-Israeli official
Fri May 11, 2012 5:58am EDT
Sailboards could become an unwanted item
By Ori Lewis
JERUSALEM, May 11 (Reuters) - The International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) decision to drop windsurfing from the Olympics in favour of kiteboarding likely came about because some delegates didn't realise what they were voting for, Israel's sailing chief said on Friday.
Seems the windsurfers representatives were too complacent and assumed kiting wouldn't make it and as a group they have only their Olympic representatives to blame.
The events sub-commitee voted 14 to 2 for men's windsurfing and 15 to 2 for women's windsurfing and passed that on to the ISAF.
The Israeli ISAF delegate didn't go to the voting, but would have voted for windsurfing if he had. The Spanish ISAF delegate was there to cast the Spanish vote for windsurfing but voted for kitesurfing (by mistake, according to him) for which he has now apologised.
The vote result was 19 to 17 in favour of kiting.
The windsurfers would need a two thirds majority vote before they could get a re-vote to happen, so it looks very unlikely that will happen.
Kiteboarding could take Olympic sailing to a new level in terms of media presentation IMO.
Seems to me it would be important to hold the kitesurfing from the beach West of the entrance of Guanabara Bay, to show kitesurfing and Rio off at their best. If the wind was offshore that could be a problem for the organisers though.
If the wind was strong enough, it may be possible to make a decision to have cameras giving live video from the kites during the races and maybe head cams too. This would require all competitors to carry either a camera or a 'dummy' camera and data relay. They do this on F1 cars.
The video we have seen from kite cams has usually been processed quite a bit, so things like image stabilisation and rotation would have to be done in real time - if possible.
The other thing would be to find good commentators who could do live commentary on the races.
A good example of this is a guy called Ben Proffitt who has done live commentary on windsurf events. Because he is a pro sailor, knows all the competitors and is a very funny guy, he makes the best presenter.
Usually what we have had before is generic sports commentators who have brushed up a bit on sailing. Kiting would be better with its own commentators.
The ISAF have said their vote was a gamble based on kitesurfing being a good show event and I think they can get that result if the IKA can get the media coverage improved over the next few years.
The other problem will be getting enough high quality kite racers into the event given there will only be one competitor from each country.