IWSF Secretary's General Report for the EB Meeting 1998
September 1998

Dear EB Member

With much pleasure, but also with much concern, I accepted from Andres Botero the position of Secretary General exactly one year ago. Concern due to undertaking such an important commitment, with so many factors unknown to me.

As a matter of fact, after only a few months, I realised what a task it was and how much time was necessary to carry out my duty in a professional way.

So I came to a personal decision. From the 1st of January 98, I resigned from my job as marketing managing-director in order to devote myself full time to this new task.

This first year has been dominated by the Olympic project, and to this goal, I have devoted the most of my time.

The Italian Olympic Committee has supplied me with free use of a two-room office near the Bologna Stadium, and with the means of equipping a secretary's office: furnishings, supplies, a computer, etc.. The Italian Olympic Committee President has not yet approved the expense of an eventual assistant for me, (unquestionably necessary), but on the other hand, he has strongly supported IWSF politically, with the Greek Olympic Committee President, who is his great friend and colleague.

As my first task, having little time, I prepared a simple documentation, including a video, which can be easily understood even by those who are not familiar with water ski. The brochure and video explain what water skiing is, at least to some extent. And so the Brochure and Video "This is Water Ski" were born. More than 500 videos and over 4000 brochures have been distributed or sold all over the world.

Several PR meetings in Greece, with the Greek Olympic Committee and Organising Committee members have been held and are still being organised. I wish to heartily thank Depy and Nicolas for their remarkable support, and for their great receptiveness and commitment toward me and 'IWSF. Should we succeed, they will deserve a great deal of the merit.

We attended the meeting in Lausanne with S.E. Samaranch, in the middle of May, arriving with 25,000 letters from athletes, skiers and amateur athletes, and with 40 letters of support from National Olympic Committees, with particularly strong support from the USA and Canada. We have received over 100 kilos of supporting mail as a result of a promotional campaign, in which many laboured hard.

But I would like to especially thank Helena and Vern for the enthusiasm and momentum they devoted in this campaign.

Seville performance that was so successful and had such an echo for our sport, required a great organisational effort, in a very brief time of preparation we did :

A) The directory of every National Olympic Committee and their presidents, of the International Summer Federations, of the I.O.C. effective , honorary and administration members, has been made. To each one of these, the video, the brochure, a poster and a personal invitation to the program has been mailed. In Seville, 350 neck ties in the new folders have been handed out "ad personam", along with 150 boxes of perfume to the ladies.

B) In June, preparatory visits to the ACNO s Secretary , to the Spanish Olympic Committee and to the Andalusian Authorities were made.

C) In Seville , several Greek Olympic Committee members were invited , and a sport demonstration performed exclusively to their president Nikolaou was particularly beneficial.

  1. I thank everyone who co-operated at this work, with a special thank you to the Spanish Federation, to Helena and her athletes, to Des, to Kuno , to Correct end Perfect Pass and to the Italian Federation which produced the wonderful video which will remain as a memory to this exciting, but tiring adventure.
  2. A very successful and fortunate meeting, which was strongly desired, took place in mid-July, on a hill in Athens, on a small street bordered by olive trees, in which S.E. Samaranch, the Presidents of the Greek Olympic and Organising Committees.

It was a brief meeting, but I hope it has been highly positive for our project.

Unfortunately, as I was returning from Greece, a car accident occurred which cancelled my plans to attend various world championships in August. However, Kuno and Stefan did a worthy job in replacing me.

A campaign we have a close interest in, which has yet to blossom, is the fund-raising to cover costs of the Olympic Project . This has been addressed to federations, associations, individuals and sponsors so that the heavy Olympic costs would be covered. Even if the costs were to be forseen to 600,000 US dollars, it would still be much less than the millions of US dollars planned for and invested by the competing Federations of Golf, Squash, Bowling, and so on.

The multiple engagements and enterprises comprising the Olympic target and the lack of an assistant didn't allow me the development of some new ideas, such as the newsletters, the secretariats for the need of certain world councils, the updating of the directory, and so on.

But other tasks have been achieved, such as the insertion of the addresses of the National Federations ,the members of the councils, plus the world calendars. Links have been made with many news journalists, important persons of the International Olympic Committee, and specialised sports' magazines, they have been informed about developments ,improving and result of IWSF activity.

My computer handled more than 6,000 e-mail messages and receives an average of 20 messages daily. Today there is a tight connection with the secretary of IWGA, for the arrangement of Akita 2001 and with GAIFS, to develop the process with the media, worldsport, etc..

The eventual entrance of the Olympics, and when the new constitution will come in force , will converge on the secretariat of IWSF an impressive amount of work which will have to be well-managed in order to make our Federation more effective, dynamic and in-step with the more developed International Federations.

I wish to end up with a remark :

Today each of EB members is connected and communicate only by e-mail, which is a powerful and very quick means of communication, reduce the distance ,the time and it is easy to use .

What surprises me most is that only few members use this means and communicate each other , while other don't.

I must state that in our Board there are people really active, they reply quickly , they are there into the Board activity.

Other People, I am so sorry in stating that, are totally out of the thick of the fight. They just confine themselves in reading without commenting, or showing the least sign of life even through multimedia.

I encourage each of you who feels "touched" by this kindly rebuke of mine, to be more active in our Board by some ideas, piece of advice and even criticism, because when criticism is constructive, it is positive too.

Thanks so much.

Graziano Tognala