The International Sailing Federation has suffered serious backlash from the sailing community after eliminating windsurfing from the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and replacing it with kiteboarding.
US Sailing has issued a statement establishing their support of the ISAF decision. According to the statement, prepared by US Sailing Board Member and Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman Dean Brenner, US Sailing stands behind the decision “100 percent.”
The organization outlines their reasons for the supporting kiteboarding as an Olympic sport, stating that the sport’s growing following, exciting nature and safety advancements make kiteboarding an appealing choice. The sport also has a lot of potential to attract more participants across the globe and, because it requires staying closer to shore, a large spectator element.
US Sailing acknowledges that accepting this new sport will take work, much more work than maintaining an existing sport, but assures that it is willing to put in the work in order to help it to establish itself as a viable event.
“Does US Sailing have work to do in supporting the industry’s pipeline development? Of course. For kiteboarding to flourish, the kiteboarding community will need to commit to increased support in this area. US Sailing will work on developing pathways for kite sailors to make the Olympics, just as it has done in other classes.”
Photo courtesy of US Sailing