Revoke the Vote!
Revoke the Vote!
We, collectively as athletes, are respectfully writing you regarding the Board’s recent decision and proposal to include Extreme Slalom to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an addition to the 2024 Olympic Program. We feel strongly this proposal is not in the best interest for both the International Canoe Federation (ICF) or its athletes. This proposal will result in a split between the canoeing and kayaking family and disciplines affecting the future of our Olympic sport. We are respectfully requesting the Board to reconsider their decision in this matter and decline to propose Extreme Slalom.
With respect to the Board members vote we believe this process was not conducted fairly and in a timely manner. We believe the timeline was unfairly rushed which resulted in an extremely short process. This proposal for Extreme Slalom and the resulting decision was put in-front of the Board, the ICF and relevant committees may not have provided enough time to allow for adequate evaluation, analysis and impact on the long term effects for our sport. In fact, this fast track decision will create a very big injustice if this is adopted. When a Board and its affiliates normally prepare for a crucial decision, especially when proposing a new sport to an Olympic Program, there are fundamental procedures and policies to follow which are presented and evaluated by all stake holders involved and their National federations and Olympic committees and of course ICF relevant committees.
We also feel this rushed vote may in effect have aided to arrangements that were done behind closed doors prior to the knowledge of many board members and relevant stakeholders. Some of which may have great influence on the direction and future of our canoeing sport. It is our belief that the Board Members and the International Canoe Federation’s relevant staff have always spoke of the importance of transparency. In effect, this recent decision and the process taken is a great example for a lack of transparency to its current membership and Olympians. In fact, we were always told by the IOC and the ICF that athletes come first. But, these recent actions by the International Canoe Federation demonstrate the complete opposite. They suggest athletes do not come first, but rather they prefer a quick and hasty decision which will impact the future of our sport.
In addition, we understand that there may be strong pressure from the 2024 Paris Olympic Games organizing committee and media Channels that have a strong voice and influence in this outcome of this decision. Going back to the IOC moto, “Athletes come first” is a nice slogan, but in reality, the ICF and the IOC may be greatly influenced by other factors which push athletes away from this core values.
When proposing a new sport into the Olympic Games specific guidelines are required to meet the acceptance of a sport to the Games. For example, in order for a new sport to be accepted into the Olympic Games one has to demonstrate the sport to be wildly participated in many countries and continents, have active and functioning national programs in addition to clearly defined set of rules and track records of national and International events, just to mention a few. NONE of these apply to Extreme Slalom. Under the International Canoe Federation we have many other canoeing events that DO qualify for the International Olympic Committee requirements. These are, but not limited to, Marathon canoeing, ocean racing canoeing, Stand Up Paddling ,Canoe Polo, and freestyle which, in fact, provide a more impactful and enjoyable visual experience that far exceeds Extreme Slalom.
In conclusion, we are respectfully requesting that the Board reconsider their recent vote and allow for the opportunity to decline the proposal for Extreme Slalom. Let’s allow for a reasonable opportunity for a proposal to be analyzed and reviewed by all the members of our canoe & kayak family and organizations. This is the only fair method. Hastily and improper analysis and decisions will have a negative effect on organizations and lives of our community for years to come. In fact, these decisions will jeopardize the future of our sport. As we lead into the Los Angeles 2028 Games this unfair decision could risk the loss of 6 possible medals if Slalom is not on the Olympic Program. A rushed decision today often creates a long term problem. These critical decisions need to be performed in a transparent and ethical manner creating a clean process so there is no question regarding any lack of information, analysis or outside influences. If we follow a fair process our relevant committees and stakeholders will be able to implement reasonable and fair efforts to perform their proper due diligence when analyzing proposals and the future of our sport.
Once again, Athletes First and do the right thing, REVOKE THE VOTE!