president kasper at the heart of the olympic movement
FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper was elected last August to the IOC’s Executive Board as the representative of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations.
a new olympic challenge
FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper has been member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2000. On 4th August 2016, at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, President Kasper was elected to the IOC’s Executive Board as the representative of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF). Kasper, who has served as President of the AIOWF since 2014, was given a four-year mandate in the IOC’s highest decision-making body that consists of the IOC President, four Vice-Presidents and ten other members. The newly composed Executive Board began its work after the Olympic Summer Games Rio 2016.
important vantage point for winter sports
President Kasper said of his election: “I am well aware of the responsibilities as representative of the seven Winter Sports Federations in the IOC Executive Board and I will also contribute actively to the many other issues that are on the agenda. It is of great importance for the winter sports in general and the International Ski Federation in particular to have a representative at the highest level of sports governance to represent their interests,” added Kasper, who is currently the only snow sports representative in the IOC following the recent resignation of the Norwegian athlete commission member Ole-Einar Bjoerndalen. President Kasper is a highly influential figure in the Olympic Movement. Among his many duties, he serves as Vice-President of the IOC Olympic Channel Services and as member of the IOC Coordination Commissions for the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022. Mr. Kasper is also a member of the Council of SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for all (Olympic and non-Olympic) international sports federations, as well as a member of the Executive Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Finding a way for the Olympic Games to regain their appeal as a peaceful celebration of sports and the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence is one of the main topics on President Kasper’s current agenda.
the way forward
President Kasper spent full three weeks at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil this summer. “We enjoyed truly great Summer Games in Rio. The organisers did a wonderful job. Obviously there are always some small issues behind the scenes but on a daily basis, we saw spectacular sport performances and an amazing Olympic spirit in action. I salute the great hospitability and willingness of our Brazilian friends to go the extra mile in staging the event. All that may not have been obvious in the global media coverage which is so focused on headlines, the more sensational the better it seems. However, the Rio Games will go down in history as a sober and pragmatic edition of the Games, dominated by sport rather than excessive infrastructure construction projects. That’s what we needed”. Finding a way for the Olympic Games to regain their appeal as a peaceful celebration of sports and the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence is one of the main topics on President Kasper’s current agenda. “Key to re-establishing the Games in their place as the premier global sports event will be certain Olympic humility. It will be important to ensure that the future Olympic Games remain on a manageable scale in terms of cost and investment. This will require tangible examples rather than massive promotional campaigns. The 2018 Games in PyeongChang, Korea, are luckily another example going in the right direction. We will need to work hard to attract sufficient host candidates, especially for the future Winter Games. Concrete efforts are under way for the 2026 edition of the Games and currently it seems that 4–5 countries are seriously considering bidding during the next cycle”. President Kasper agrees that although the IOC membership at large is very aware of the current challenges and the need for change, there are no easy solutions or quick fixes. “In all areas, be it the fight against doping or challenges to the governance and integrity of sports, we must take the situation seriously, act with resolve and employ all means at our disposal. Regardless, it will take time and require considerable patience for the sport to recover and regain its role as a vital pillar in society”.