Athens, November 29th 2001

A special Press Conference was held in Athens, Greece, by the International Waterski Federation to highlight the IOC rejection of a significant decision of ATHOC, the Olympics 2004 organising body. ATHOC selected Waterskiing as their choice of new sport for the 2004 Olympic Games.  Their choice was rejected by the IOC. This ATHOC choice in favour of Waterskiing was strongly supported by both the Greek National Olympic Committee and the Greek Government.  Recently, the IOC Working Group 2004 presented an official programme of events for 2004 to the ATHOC - but this did not include Waterskiing. The Sydney Games added two sports, Atlanta added two sports, Barcelona added three sports and Seoul added two sports.  Some months after the Greek decision to add just one sport in 2004, Waterskiing, the IOC declared that no new sports could be added to the 2004 Games.  Such a retroactive action is unprecedented.

Present at the Athens Press Conference were five TV Channels, 48 Journalists, the Presidents of four of the largest Nautical Clubs in Greece, the President of the Hellenic Waterski Federation, the World President of the International Waterski Federation and a large number of athletes.

The message was loud and clear and strongly applauded by all present. This message was that the IOC rejection of the new sport selected by Greece, Waterskiing, was an insult to Greece. Mr John Spais, member of the Executive Board of the ancient city of Olympia stated that to prevent Greece having the same choice as past Olympic Games hosts was unfair treatment. Mr Katsiadakis, Hellenic National Olympic Committee, also confirmed to the Press that the HNOC fully supported the IWSF in it's wish to participate in the 2004 Games. Greek Athlete and potential Olympic Medal winner, Ageliki Andriopoulou, made an emotional plea to grant this opportunity to Greek athletes to Mr Venizelos, the Minister of Culture, and to Gianna Angelopoulou, President of ATHOC 2004.  Greek Olympic Windsurfing Medal winner, Nikos Kaklamanakis, issued a video message that as a man of the sea, he also fully supports the Greek Waterskiing decision.

The World President of the International Waterski Federation, Kuno Ritschard, and the President of the Hellenic Waterski Federation, Depi Papadimitriou, made it clear that the IWSF had all the necessary resources and experience to ensure that the inclusion of Waterskiing would create no extra burden to the organisers and that they fully endorsed the legitimate Greek decision to exercise the well established right to include the sport of Waterskiing in the 2004 Games.

The message of the Press Conference was best summarised by comments from the Greek athlete, Ageliki Andriopoulou, and Mr Giannakas, Secretary General of the Hellenic Waterski Federation.  Andriopoulou stated that if this IOC decision is not reversed, the shame is that Greek Waterski athletes will lose the chance to win Olympic medals and lose the chance to hear their National Anthem at the Games. Giannakas asked for the full support of Greece to have the same right to chose Waterskiing as Sydney, Atlanta, Barcelona and Seoul did for other sports.

Virtually all of the the major newspapers in Greece carried details of the IOC rejection the following day and interviews with Greek Waterski athlete, Ageliki Andriopoulou, were featured on the Morning Show and TV News.

Photos :

Pic.1. Depy Papadimitriou, President, Greek Waterski Federation, Kuno Ritschard, President, International Waterski Federation, Greek Athlete Ageliki Andriopoulou.

Pic.2. Media in attendance in Athens.

For further details, contact :
Des Burke-Kennedy
IWSF media Chairman