Thursday 21 January 2016

Thoughts about the ICF proposal for the modification of the canoeing program in Tokio 2020 (Part 1)

I've never been to the Olympics. I'm not even halfway to be able to get the flip flops of the paddlers in Rio this summer. And, unfortunately, it seems that over the years my chances of competing in future editions of the Games will have to be expressed in scientific notation.

None of my family is also linked to the ICF, or the IOC, or trademarks or institutions that finance or profit from canoeing or any of its derivatives. And judging by the laughter when this topic appears, they have even less faith than I in that one family member ends on top of an Olympic podium. If that member is me, the laughter becomes almost insulting.

Well, at this point you will be thinking what the hell is this guy telling me. It is to make it clear that everything I will say next is interest free. Although I actually think it is full of interest, the interest a purely personal opinion can have, but that is the fruit of love for our sport and the passion with which any spectator enjoying on TV (or, hopefully, live) how the best paddlers in the world make fly on an Olympic venue the same boat that we, mortals, have been woefully dragging on our village waters that morning.

As you know you who follow us on our Facebook page, last week ICF moved to IOC its proposal for the redistribution of categories and disciplines facing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,...

where no one knows who or why (I mean the true who and why, not those written down on paper), canoeing has meant to be restructured in order to cut down costs and also to make an effort towards gender parity. Well, so far, so good.

The cost reduction is our daily task nowadays, starting by the chopped pork sandwiches where formerly ther were ham baguettes. And those who already ate chopped pork sandwiches, then take off one of the bread slides "toast" to look like they still feed the same. So sadly, we are all getting used to it. As for the parity, in many aspects progresses have been socially and culturally done, in some countries and / or sectors more than others. We all welcome that and we all agree that the world is more fair when we are all treated as unique and equal individuals regardless of our sex. As a part society and concerning our universal culture, sport and its top performance, the Olympics, can not be outside of these advances as, unfortunately, cannot either scape from reducing costs.

Now, and here it is where we touch the issue closely, what did canoeing to be one of the first to go through the thresher? Well, it is not a mass sport (less professional, less legislated, more likely to handle ...) but, however, it is surrounded by interests, like any other sport. At their level, but, as we say in Spanish, "beans are cooked everywhere". There are interests everywhere and many of those just try to get a particular benefit and not by pushing the sport to the next level. And believe me if I tell you there are a few. Hey! I not blaming anyone for having personal interests. All we have and, more or less, we all do everything possible to make them come to a good benefit. That's life.

But what I will do from tomorrow (I do not know if one or two innings like this) is to expose the interests that from the spactator's point of view seem to exist around this topic, then try that we have a little more clear what is happening or at least what you may expect to watch from the couch at home. And how all this is leading to a canoeing different place than it is now. Better or worse? Only time will tell us.

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