As World Sailing revises the events program for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Australian Sailing (AS) wishes to reaffirm its support for policies that seek to expand and develop the sport in Australia and elsewhere.
AS believes it necessary to strike a balance between the history and traditions of our sport and the reality that we need to adapt and modernise. We recognise that sailing, as a sport and community, must remain agile and innovative if it is to retain its place in Olympic competition and avoid being marginalised. The right decisions taken now should ensure sailing has a bright and healthy future.
Consistent with these beliefs, AS supports options within submissions from Member National Authorities and others that pursue the following goals:
- Gender equality in terms of number of events and total athlete numbers competing at the Olympic Games
- An increase in the number of mixed gender events in the Olympic sailing program
- Events that display the diversity of skills, equipment, format and athletes within sailing
- Events that perpetuate the traditions of sailing
- Events that are innovative and exciting for sailors and non-sailors
- Events that require and demonstrate the tactical and technical elements required in sailing
AS’s stance is derived from recommendations within two vital documents: the IOC's Gender Equality Report and Agenda 2020. Agenda 2020 is the roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement, a goal of which is for the Games to move from a sport-based program to an events-based program. The IOC is also focused on improving the appeal of the Olympic Games to a younger audience.
Consistent with the IOC’s gender equality recommendations for 2024, World Sailing policy requires gender equality in athlete numbers and events. This gives men and women the same number of events in which to compete, either as separate gender or mixed events. World Sailing policy also requires the number of mixed events for 2024 to increase to either two or four.
The Olympic Sailing event program does not currently meet the requirement for equal medal opportunities for men and women. The sailing community is aware that the additional men’s event is the only event that currently caters for men at the upper end of weight range and World Sailing policy also requires that different physiques are accommodated in the event program.
With these factors in mind, the World Sailing Council, on February 19, 2018, placed the following events under review:
- Men's Windsurfer
- Women's Windsurfer
- Men's One Person Dinghy Heavyweight
- Men's Two Person Dinghy
- Women's Two Person Dinghy
The following events were retained with their current equipment for 2024 (subject to a separate anti-trust review of the single-handed equipment):
- Men's One Person Dinghy
- Women's One Person Dinghy
- Men's Skiff
- Women's Skiff
- Mixed Two Person Multihull
With no additional medals available at this stage to add events to the current 10-event program, at least one of the current events must change to meet the key requirements for the 2024 Olympic sailing program. There are a number of options that will be debated and, unfortunately, there is no single option that accommodates the interests of all stakeholders.
AS appreciates this is a highly-charged environment and we will work hard to achieve a positive result for our sailors and for the Australian sailing community.
AS, represented by myself as President and Sarah Kenny as Vice President and Chair of the World Sailing Events Committee, will participate in upcoming discussions and deliberations. It is our goal to ensure we get the right balance by achieving the goals set out above.
MATT ALLEN, PRESIDENT
JOHN LEE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE