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Olympic reforms for sprint and slalom – attractiveness, understandability, smaller

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine | Translation: Ulla Fischer – The Olympic Games will become more colourful and exciting. This is why cut backs have to be made. Some sports may face losing their character.

Already four weeks before Monte Carlo, the IFC has been able to draw out a piece of future at the meeting of the federation in Warsaw. “We know, we have to change”, said Konietzko. There is great nervousness in the federation. Just as wrestling, canoeing does not count to the sports with the most participants, but has a broad variety of individual disciplines.

For an increase in attractiveness and the prevention of cutbacks, an exchange of disciplines is intended in Canoe Sprint. According to Konietzko, events with relay- character on a 250 meter circuit would be imaginable. “A head-to-head- race, which lives off its tension and would also be possible as a mixed-race.” This however could possibly mean that “traditional venues will be taken off the programme”.

Concerning sustainability, the canoe and rowing athletes commonly think about the potentials of the race courses itself. There is a general tendency to “fewer required space”, said Konietzko. This means that cities with smaller lakes and rivers could apply for future competitions as well.

In comparison, the Canoe Slalom athletes cannot at all be classified as unspectacular. The daring rides in the easily manoeuvrable and fast boats, which slide through the gates, are a feast for the eyes. Nevertheless, according to the ICF, there is a lot of catching up to do concerning understandability. As a consequence of this, the rules are in need of simplification. “It would be an idea to install gates such as in alpine ski, which stick out of the water and are allowed to be touched, but have to be negotiated (passed through) with the full body”, said Konietzko. This way, the two-second penalties, which often decided over medals but were difficult to understand for the spectator, would be dropped.

The European championships in Markkleeberg in May 2015 are supposed to serve as a trail test.  One decision has already been made: From 2020, the C1 of the ladies will replace the C2 of the men.

ICF Canoeing Olympic Programme Commission

Objective of this commission is to ensure that the ICF improves the sport’s ranking according to the IOC’s assessment and maintains its existing athlete, medal and event quota.

The commission comprises of seven members, Cecilia Farias (ARG), Mario Santos (POR), Jean-Michel Prono (FRA), Lluis Rabaneda Caselles (ESP), Frank Garner (CAN), Simon Toulson (ICF Secretary General, GBR) and chair, Thomas Konietzko (GER).

They will also assess each canoeing discipline from an Olympic Programme perspective and look to enhance the canoeing Olympic Programme for 2020, 2024 and 2028.

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