Windsurfing Remains Olympic Sport in 2016

The 2012 ISAF Annual Conference wrapped up Sunday and released the decision that windsurfing, not kiteboarding, will be included in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
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The 2012 ISAF Annual Conference wrapped up Sunday and released the decision that windsurfing, not kiteboarding, will be included in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The conference, which was held in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, brought together hundreds of delegates from across the world and allowed for discussion on submissions made to the ISAF, mostly regarding Olympic events and equipment.

Last May, the ISAF Council caught everyone by surprise when they chose kiteboarding to replace windsurfing in the 2016 Games by a 19-17 vote. Windsurfing has been in the Olympics since 1984 for men and since 1992 for women. The decision caused heated debate and some organizations, such as US Sailing, even took sides, saying kiteboarding’s inclusion at the Olympics was more beneficial to the entire sport of sailing.

“I stand behind ISAF’s decision 100%, said Dean Brenner, US Sailing Board Member, back in May. “Kiteboarding will be good for the sport of sailing, in the USA and worldwide.”

However, the US Windsurfing Association and other supporters fought for the sport’s return.

In Dun Laoghaire this past weekend, the ISAF Council needed a 75 percent majority vote to open up discussion on a submission made to reinstate men’s and women’s windsurfing. Initially, only 26 of the 38 possible votes favored opening up the topic to discussion, solidifying the decision made to replace windsurfing with kiteboarding back in May.

However, the ISAF General Assembly had its 106 Member National Authorities (MNA) review any substantial changes to regulations since the last annual meeting in November 2011. The change made in May to replace windsurfing with kiteboarding was considered substantial.

Decisions of the General Assembly are made by simple majority vote. After a lengthy debate, most of the 114 eligible voters present voted to reinstate men’s and women’s windsurfing.

For more information on the ISAF Annual Conference click here.

Photo courtesy of Dave Maher/Sportsfile and ISAF

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