INTERNATIONAL WATER SKI FEDERATION
Press Release - for immediate publication.
NEW SPORTS REJECTED BY IOC FOR THE 2004
At 1.00pm yesterday, December 13th, the
International Olympic Committee issued a statement in Lausanne, Switzerland,
which rocked both the Greek Nation and the sport of Waterskiing. The Working
Group established by the IOC to review the number of sports, athletes and
disciplines in the Olympic Games made a recommendation that no new sports should
be added at this time. This recommendation was ratified by the Executive
Board of the IOC and their formal surprise decision was announced by
Francois Carrard, the IOC Director General.
This is an enormous
disappointment for Greece and the International Waterski Federation. As
hosts of the 2004 Olympics, they had unanimously accepted that Waterskiing would
be their sole choice of new sport to be added to the Athens Games. Up to twenty
four hours before this IOC announcement, the Athens 2004 Organising Committee
was planning on having Waterskiing in the Games and discussions regarding
suitable sites, costs and television production had already taken place.
The IOC refusal of the request of the home of the Ancient Games to add it's
choice of sport is unprecedented. In fact in 1988 Tennis was added in Seoul, in
1992 Baseball and Badminton were added in Barcelona, in 1996 Softball was added
in Atlanta and this year, Taekwondo and Triathlon were added in
For the International Waterski Federation and over 30 million
Waterskiers, this is also an enormous disappointment. The IWSF has spent
52 years developing it's campaign for Olympic entry. For over 10 years, IWSF
President, Andres Botero and his team, have traveled the World to communicate
the plan to see Waterskiing in the Olympics. His shock on personally hearing
Wednesday's IOC announcement reflects the enormous support gained from all 92
IWSF Federations around the globe, from hundreds of thousands of Waterskiers and
from the Greek Nation itself. Andres Botero expressed his special
appreciation for all their invaluable help and loyalty. While no mention was
made by the IOC specifically naming Waterskiing, the clear message is that for
the 2004 Olympics in Athens, no new sports will be added.
following the surprise IOC announcement in Lausanne, Andres Botero, IWSF
President, was besieged by the World's Press for comments He expressed his
enormous disappointment both for Waterskiing and Greece. He also reminded those
present that Waterskiing still remains at the top of the list for inclusion and
that the decision for adding a new sport to the 2008 Games must be made in 2002.
He expressed his special gratitude for all the help, encouragement and support
received from Waterskiers and supporters all over the World and particularly
from the Greek Nation. Without this support, the sport of Waterskiing would
not be at the very top of the list for Olympic entry and would not be so
well known to the IOC.
Fifty two years is a long journey for any
sport - and especially one which includes 30 million participants in 92
countries. The profile of Waterskiing has never been higher - and
especially at Olympic level. A sport with such a long and
distinguished international background will not change it's belief that it fully
deserves to be on the Olympic stage and to give it's youth a bright
future. At this point, only the 2004 Olympics have been ruled out.
Our work has not been wasted. Our Olympic structure is in place. The experience
gained is invaluable and we are already setting our sights on 2008. Beijing,
Paris and Toronto, three of the front contenders for the 2008 Olympics, are both
strong Waterskiing supporters.