The recent World Congress of the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) held in Dubna, Russia, was attended by representatives from the Confederations of Europe/Africa, Pan America and Asia/Australasia/Oceana. The President, Kuno Ritschard, informed the delegates of the July 14th announcement of the IOC to include the sport of Wakeboard in the short list of sports to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. With a limit of 28 sports in the Games, the final decision on which new sport will be included will be made at the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires in 2013.
The IWWF Delegates attending the Congress in Russia fully supported the possible inclusion of Wakeboard in the 2020 Games. An international task force was immediately established to drive the programme forward. The task force members are based in Switzerland, Colombia, France, Italy, Croatia and Ireland.
The programme to prepare the presentations for the IOC was also launched under the heading of WAKEBOARD 2020 VISION, together with an updated IWWF Logo to emphasis the enormous opportunity available (featured here). Just as Snowboard brought such a successful addition to the Winter Olympics, Wakeboard certainly has the potential to add a totally new youth-focused lifestyle sport to the Summer Games in 2020.
Within days of the IOC announcement, a poll was launched by SportsPro Media (www.sportspromedia.com), a major B2B sports industry group which works with sports sponsors, rights holders, broadcasters, manufacturers, etc. Its objective was to try to assess the immediate level of support for each of the eight sports included in the 2020 IOC possibilities list. Only two of the seven sports identified showed any really significant following. They were Softball and Wakeboard.
As the growth sport of Wakeboard is now often performed in environmentally friendly Cable Parks, this media and sponsor friendly arena format has many advantages from an Olympic Games perspective. The IWWF has had extensive contacts with the IOC for over 50 years and has enthusiastically welcomed the inclusion of Wakeboard in the 2020 Games shortlist. All recognize that a long struggle lies ahead to satisfy IOC requirements. Both the strong support which emerged from the recent IWWF Congress and the SportsPro Media Poll have given a very positive boost to Wakeboard for the challenge ahead.
WAKEBOARD 2020 VISION will now complete the enormous preparation task ahead. All involved fully appreciate the need to satisfy the stringent requirements of the IOC programme. Following over fifty years of continuous development, the IWWF now believes that the time is right for Wakeboard to take this final step of recognition.