PRESIDENT: SECRETARY GENERAL:
ANDRES BOTERO P TOGNALA GRAZIANO
PO. Box 2038 Via Altopiano 55/4
Medellin COLOMBIA 40044 Pontecchio Marconi
Tel-Fax:+57.42.302833 (B0) ITALY
E-mail: IWSF@intic.net Fax:+39.51.845806
INTERNATIONAL WATER SKI FEDERATION
REPORT FROM THE IWSF PRESIDENT
to the Executive Board
October 10-1 1, 1998
It has been a long road since we last met in Medellin, Colombia during the successful 1997 World Championships. I had just returned from Lausanne with the sad news that Athens had beaten-out Rome as the future Olympic City for the year 2004. It was a depressing moment after having gone through two years of hard work and dedication working close with Rome which was considered unbeatable at one moment.
Two years of meetings and contacts and finally, and for the first time in the history of our sport, getting full support for Water Skiing from an Olympic bid city. All this hard work went up in the air in a few seconds when President Samaranch announced: "The winner is ATHENS". It was not because 1 disliked Athens. It was because 1 thought Rome had the greatest chance and 1 gambled for it like 1 did for Sydney. As a matter of fact, Greece is maybe one of my favourite countries in Europe. Anyway, it was a depressive moment but somewhat similar to what 1 went through when negotiating with the Australians.
It was happening for the second time around! I could not continue making the "finals" and loosing-out at the last moment. 1 needed to change the tactics and the approach.
Just a few days later, at the World Championships site, 1 sat down in Medellin with my good friend Depy Papadimitriou to start all over again and to try a new tactic with our Greek friends. The Sydney and Rome experiences really helped to mold a new and fresh approach . We had wonderful people in the Hellenic Federation with a strong will to support our dream and to work professionally on a strategic plan set-down by the Bureau and Depy's team.
The first step was to prepare a video and brochure in order to show the world, the colour, action, spectacularity and wonders of our sport. A second step and following the suggestion of an IOC Executive Board member was to stage a spectacular Water Ski Show in Seville with all our world champions during the ACNO meeting.
After a lot of hard work and a strong support from Correct-Craft-Portugal, Perfect Pass, Café de Colombia, Boetcher Timing, the Spanish Water Ski Federation, the Italian Water Ski Federation and especially the water skiers, the IWSF presented the "greatest show on water"' to President Juan Antonio Samaranch, his IOC Executive Board, Mario Vasquez Rana President of ACNO and to 197 National Olympic Committees from around the world.
It was a historical day for water skiing . In a few days people will look back at our sport and say that our future was broken in two: before and after Seville.
The rest is history. Today we are at the brink of getting our sport included in the Olympic Program.
It represents a great change in our sport, greater financial support from all NOC's to our Federations, considerable funds from the IOC to our International Federation, greater TV coverage and a wider sponsorship interest.
We are at the dawn of a new millennium. Our future looks brighter. Our International Federation must adapt to the new circumstances and the first step is to change our obsolete Constitution and bring it up to date as mandated unanimously by our Congress in Medelling last year.
Furthermore, 1 wish to indicate the great collaboration and advice from President Samaranch and Gilbert Felli during all this process and the friendship, warmth and understanding of the President of the Hellenic Olympic committee, Mr. Lambis Nikolau and all his members as well as Mr. Stratis Stratigis, President of the Athens 2004 Organising Committee including Mr. Fouras, Costas Bakouris, Mr. Avramopoulos, Major of Athens and many, many others who are working on our side to make our dream come true.
There are three people who must be mentioned apart: Graziano Tognala, my Secretary General. Proposed by me to the IWSF Executive Board and ratified by Congress in Medellin, Graziano was the right man at the right moment. It was somebody the IWSF needed. Somebody dedicated to the sport for 24 hours a day. Somebody who knew the sport and wanted to leave a mark. Completely dedicated and with great enthusiasm, Graziano worked to produce, design and prepare the video and brochure in a few days notice. Later he was the "director" of the Seville Show and great part of the success was due to his interest, enthusiasm and will to make the best presentation.
1 must tell you, very confidentially, it has not been easy to work With Graziano. He came in with new energy and it was not easy to keep up to with his pace. Today after a year 1 have understood his "rude" English-Italian language, his drive and his efforts to project our Federation into a new dimension. Graziano, thank you for your help and dedication to our sport. Isabel, also from Colombia, wants to thank you for your co-operation.
Secondly, and very specially, the Papadimitriou family. Nicolas, Depy, Dimitri, the crew of the boat and drivers, the Hellenic Water Ski Federation, the whole Papadimitriou family. The IWSF could not have found a better and dedicated water ski team The world will remember you forever for that you have done for water skiing in such a short time. The future is our thanks to a wonderful pair of friends.
As a matter of fact, the Olympic dream created a big outflow of funds from the IWSF. Considering the situation and maybe our best chance ever to become Olympic, the IWSF started a Athens 2004 fund raising campaign in order to pay for all expenses involved in this project. 1 must really say that the world of Water Skiing believed in our work and initiatives and we are very grateful to all the people who contributed towards the Olympic dream.
Besides this main issue, many other activities were carried out throughout the world. The Cafe de Colombia Water Ski World Cup became stronger in 1998 with higher cash money and greater world-wide TV coverage.
Cable Ski held its first World Championships with great results in Germany.
Latin America was the sensation at the Junior Worlds with Colombia and Chile winning medals for the first time.
Development in Africa is pushing further continuing with the African Championships and the leadership of Louis Polome from South Africa.
The Mediterranean Championships came off surprisingly well with a great effort from the Egyptian Federation with more than 9 countries attending.
The activity in South America has not stopped with Peru organising for the first time next year the Latin American Championships and the good news subject to ratification at the next South American Olympic Committee meeting that Water Skiing Will be a medal sport for the first time at the 2001 South American Games in Cordoba, Argentina.
Asia is still pushing ahead despite the Asian crisis and we now have great hopes to get included in the 2002 Asian games, thanks to the Max efforts in that direction.
Furthermore, the IWSF has created a closer working relationship with Wakeboarding throughout the world and finally we are creating a new Constitution for the Third Millennium. 1 strongly urge all the Executive Board members to give it a thorough study in the next few days so we can come up with a final draft to be presented a the 1999 World Congress in Milan for final approval. We live in a changing world and we must adapt to the modern world of sport.
Finally, 1 wish to thank all my EB members, the Treasurer, the Athletes Commission Chairman, Isabel and all others who have made my job easier.
WATER SKI, THE NEW SPORT FOR THE NEW CENTURY!!
ATHENS, HERE WE COME!!
ANDRES BOTERO .
Medellin, October of 1998