Speech of Secretary General of IWSF to the Congress EAME on the 30 January in AQABA

To the EAME congress member

Sixteen months ago, I was appointed as the new Secretary General of the IWSF and it is time to give you a brief review on the important results of the Olympic Project to which I have dedicated all my time until now.

I am glad to report that the first vital stage has been successfully completed. The Greek Organizing Committee for the Olympics of 2004 has agreed to make an official proposal to the IOC Executive Board that Waterskiing is the choice for a new Olympic sport proposed by the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

Permit me to rapidly pass through the different steps again which brought us to this point:

  1. Last May, we attended a meeting in Lausanne with H.E. Juan Samaranch, President of the IOC. We delivered to him a total of 25,000 letters from athletes, skiers and amateur athletes, and also 40 letters of support from National Olympic Committees. We presented a total of 100 kilos of supporting mail as a result of our promotional campaign, in which many worked very hard indeed
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  3. In June, we organized the Waterski Demonstration in Seville. This was very successful and made a significant impact for our sport. Its preparation required a great organisational effort, in a very tight time frame. We started in May with preparatory visits to the ACNO s Secretary General, to the Spanish Olympic Committee and to the Andalusian Authorities responsible for the Seville region. A total of 197 National Olympic Committees and their Presidents attended, plus the International Summer Federations, the I.O.C. Board , and honorary and administration members. We presented each with a specially created Waterski Video, a specially designed Waterski Brochure,

commemorative Waterski Poster and a personal invitation to the program of the Seville demonstration. In Seville, several Greek Olympic Committee members were present, and a special exclusive sport demonstration was performed for their president Nikolaou, which proved to be particularly beneficial. I thank everyone who co-operated in this project, with a special thank you to the Spanish Federation, to Helena Kjellander and her athletes from twelve different nations all over the world, to Des Burke-Kennedy, to Kuno Ritschard , to CorrectCraft end Perfect Pass and to the Italian Federation which produced the wonderful Waterski Video which will remain as a memory to this exciting, but exhausting adventure. I will show you this video immediately after my speech.

  1. In July, we organised a very successful and fortunate meeting, which was very necessary. This took place on a small street bordered by olive trees on a hill overlooking Athens. There, we had valuable meeting with H.E. Juan Samaranch, the Presidents of the Greek Olympic Committee, Mr. Nikolau, the President of the Organising Committee, Mr. Stratis Stratigis, Andres and myself. Although it was a brief meeting, I believe it has had a highly positive impact on our project.
  2. We also organised several PR meetings in Greece, with the Greek Olympic Committee and Organising Committee members. I wish to heartily thank Depy Papadimitriou and the Hellenic Federation for their remarkable support, and for their great receptiveness and commitment both to me and IWSF. Should we succeed, they will deserve a great deal of the credit for their major contribution.


From today, we start the next important stage. This will bring us to the end of June or perhaps later. We must now convince all IOC Members who will have a vote in allowing Waterskiing to become an Olympic Sport. We have to contact and persuade over 30 important, decision making Members. The IOC Congress will then have to ratify their decision which is expected in the middle of June. With the current IOC problems which you will all have seen in the Newspapers, this date might even be postponed till later.

Our Olympic Project has brought with it both enormous benefits plus considerable operational costs and perhaps some unexpected expenses. We have launched a special Fund Raising Campaign some time ago and many private persons have replied with enthusiasm. However, few Federations at this time have answered our calls for help at our time of need. Today I am giving you details of current income and expenditure situation. Today also, our newly appointed Media Chairman, Des Burke-Kennedy, will provide you with more details on this important topic.

The many actions that we undertook during 1998 have drained our funds and there are still many long months ahead of us, with demanding and decisive work to be carried out. They tell me, that for over forty years, the words "Waterskiing must become Olympic" have been repeated over and over again. However, for over forty years, they have remained only words.

Today on the contrary we are closer than ever to the goal. This year, the International W.S. Federation has now almost transformed the desire into a reality. Now it is up to you to help us transform this "almost reality" into a definitive reality.

Support us, help us with your financial support to complete our Olympic Project.

The World Congress in 1997 decided that new Statutes have to be discussed and approved at the next World Congress in 1999. These statutes are under preparation now. You will receive the draft before the end March so that you can study it, discuss it and amend it in preparation for the discussion and approval at our Congress next September.

At the request of our President, Andres Botero, the IWSF office in Bologna, in the CONI offices, the home of the Italian National Olympic Committee, at the City Stadium, have been formally transformed into the operational headquarters and administrative centre of the IWSF. >From there, with the help of an assistant I hope to be able to keep in closer and closer contact with the Regions, Admincom and all World Federations and to develop our sport of Waterskiing even more.

May I say a special thank you to your President, Kuno Ritschard, and Region EAME for permitting me to make this presentation to you here in Aqaba today.

I look forward to seeing you again at our next Congress in France - with the exciting promise to welcome in the new Millennium with a new Olympic sport.

Tognala Graziano

IWSF Secretary General