The Equipment Evaluation was Supposed to Include Windsurfing

There is little doubt that the Equipment Evaluation for the ‘Board or Kite Board’ events at the 2016 Olympic Games was supposed to include Windsurfing. Yet it failed to do so.

In May of 2011, a number of parties (MNA’s, Commissions, and Classes) submitted proposals to ISAF regarding their preferences for the slate of events at the 2016 Olympic competition. Without a common template to use, those submissions took a variety of formats, and the Committees at ISAF found themselves in the situation of having to interpret what many of those submissions meant. It became clear that the ‘Board or Kite Board’ events (Men’s and Women’s) were causing confusion: the events themselves were re-labeled by many MNA’s, ‘or’ was changed to ‘and’ or ‘and/or’, parentheses were added, etc.

For instance, here’s how the proposal was laid out in the Submission that was eventually approved by the ISAF Council (M10-11):

From that layout, it seems clear that the proposal was that any evaluation was to include the RS:X. It essentially meant:

(RS:X / Kiteboard) Evaluation not RS:X / (Kiteboard Evaluation)

The Chairman of the Events Committee still recognized that there could be a problem and addressed it directly when he defined the Voting Procedure to be used during the meeting:

There is the question of “what does ‘or’ mean in ‘windsurfer or kite board’”? In every such
case the Equipment option will be “evaluation” (as kite-board is a new Event), and these
submissions are proposing that both windsurfers and kite boarders are eligible to take part in
the evaluation. Council will therefore have the opportunity at a later meeting (November
2012) to choose the Equipment, and will be able at that time to choose either just windsurfer,
or just kite board, or a format including both. It is recommended that Council should not at
this time constrain the evaluation, so recommends that for the purpose of this vote, slates
with ‘or’, ‘and’ and ‘and/or’ that are otherwise equivalent are combined and voted on as if a
single submission.
M02-11 – Voting Procedure (from Chairman of Events Committee)
http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/M02112016OlympicSCVotingProcedure-[10348].pdf
Approved by the Events Committee in May 2011:  17 in favour, 1 against, 4 abstentions
Approved by ISAF Council in May 2011: 27 approve, 9 reject, 1 abstain

The Events Committee further reinforced that point in its Meeting Minutes:

Paragraph 3 of the Additional Notes on the Process of submission M02-11 clarified that
for Board / Kiteboarding, the evaluation should include both windsurfers and kiteboards,
and that the Event itself should include either windsurfers or kiteboards or both.
Events Committee Minutes, May 2011 (p.7)
http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/2011EC0505-[10552].pdf

In our opinion, this removes any doubt that the Equipment Evaluation was supposed to include Windsurfing.

One comment

  1. Dan

    Unless ISAF or Events Committee bylaws, to the extent they may exist, authorize a separate method other than the Chair’s own interpretation and declaration to define confusing or ambiguous text, the Chair’s statement of definition can be the only acceptable way to create mutual understanding of meaning. Here, the Chairman made it perfectly clear that kiting was a new event and, as such, would require a formal evaluation and comparison process that would be followed by a later vote to select the medal events for 2016.

    ISAF failed to follow its own rules for equipment selection. How can it claim the May vote to establish a new event is then valid?

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