In a recent article the International Canoe Federation (ICF) stated it was “disappointed” at its shock appearance among the sports in the firing line (the “Bottom 5”) last month when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was considering which sport to recommend for exclusion from the 2020 Olympic Games (wrestling was removed). It believes that the system of evaluation of sports on the programme needs to be “re-examined,” according to ICF president José Perurena López.
“The ICF was disappointed to be named in the voting of the 2020 Olympic programme. Certainly all the statistics and anecdotal feedback do not point to canoeing being in such a lowly position in the Olympic Games.” (See ICF story HERE.)
While we know that politics and money play substantially in Olympic decision-making (and the Olympic family seems to take precedence over the Olympic athletes), is it possible that the lack of equitable opportunities for women had anything to do with it?
Richard Fox, National Performance Director, Australian Canoeing, offers his opinion on why Canoeing was almost voted out the Olympics.
In his view, while the ICF was in “shock”, others, including the IOC Executive Board members who voted to remove Canoeing from the Olympic program, may take a different view.
“Canoeing was exposed in the IOC evaluation process because of its poor standing in terms of gender diversity….. Other sports have aligned their approach with the IOC’s expectations by removing time worn barriers of gender discrimination and by finding solutions, however challenging, that increase opportunities for women to compete at the Games. Meanwhile, the Olympic Movement, the community and female athletes around the world, are impatiently watching and waiting for Canoeing to catch up.”
Read Richard Fox’s op-ed HERE:
The lack of transparency of decision making, both at the IOC and ICF, fosters considerable speculation as to why Canoeing (Canoe/Kayak) was in the Bottom 5. While we do not know how Canoeing ended up in the Bottom 5, it may well be that lack of equality/equitable opportunities played a part in the decision. Additionally, the same lack of transparency seems to also leave many to question why equality isn’t listed as one of the ICF’s priorities for 2016.
In the above ICF article, Mr. Perurena outlines his priorities over the next 4 years of his Presidency:
“To maintain the image and reputation of canoeing and the ICF. We are undergoing a governance review at the moment, examining the whole structure of the federation and how we work. This is a major piece of work which should put solid foundations in place for the future of the federation.
“Then to ensure canoeing is on TV and in the media around the world in the lead-up to Rio and beyond. Then, importantly, it’s my job to support our teams and athletes at the events because that is what we are doing all this work for.”
Where is gender equity in the ICF’s strategic vision?
Women’s Canoe is ready for Rio 2016! Sprint and Slalom.
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