ISAF President Göran Petersson stated: “Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games.“
Sir Richard Branson, one of the IKAs Olympic Ambassadors and supporters from the very first minute added: “Well we all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio! Kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport! To celebrate this, myself, my family and a few friends will this week attempt to kite across the English Channel to show off the beauty of kite-surfing.” And, with this in mind, he has been getting in some practice:
Susi-Mae hitching a ride with Sir Richard Branson
“Backbreaking work, but someone’s got to do it!” he blogged.
In August 2010, Branson, accompanied by his children Holly, 29, and Sam, 26, and a number of others including Princess Beatrice’s boyfriend Dave Clarke, 28, set off from Dungeness in Kent hoping to reach the French coast, but had to abandon the attempt because of strong winds and a choppy sea.
In November 2011 an evaluation group was appointed to examine kiteboarding formats with the board events for Rio 2016 defined as ‘windsurfing and/or kiteboarding’. The Evaluation Group recommended that kiteboarding be included in the ISAF Event family including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships. ISAF Council then went one step further when selecting Kiteboarding to be part of the Olympic Sailing Competition in Rio 2016.
IKA Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner said: “The decision today will change the lives of thousands of kiteboarders that now can live their Olympic dream. The National Sailing Associations will now include kiteboarding into their programs and coach and support the riders to go to the Olympic Qualification events. We never thought we would get this far in such a short time.”
Kristin Boese, 9x Kiteboarding World Champion and strong ambassador for the Kiteboarding in the Olympics Campaign concludes: “It was incredible to see that council showed so much support for kiteboarding during yesterday’s debate and that alone was very exciting for us. However, we never thought that we were going to stand a chance when it comes to the straight vote between kiteboarding and windsurfing and it was such a huge surprise when the result was announced. I will never forget this moment. I am so grateful for all the hard work the IKA and many others have put into the Kiteboarding in the Olympics campaign.”
It is wonderful news for kiteboarding, but rather sad for windsurfing fans. Why not both?!