2013/14 season review and future outlook by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper
The 2013/14 season has come to a close for each of the six FIS Olympic disciplines and I can say it is one that many people will remember for years to come.
Naturally, the highlight of the season was the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (RUS), which saw a record 49 skiing and snowboard medal events, making up an astounding 50% of the Winter Olympic medal count. But it wasn’t just quantity that was on display, it was quality as well. FIS continues to strike a fine balance between the long-standing, traditional disciplines, while bringing in innovative events to keep skiing and snowboarding relevant to the next generation. Slopestyle quickly became the buzz of the Games, while ladies’ Ski Jumping exceeded all expectations.
We enjoyed perhaps the best, and most stable, weather of the entire winter in Sochi as only one event in the entire FIS programme had to be delayed. Alas, that was not the case throughout the rest of the season, as inclement weather put our Organisers and Technical Delegates to the test. The patience and teamwork displayed to relocate, reschedule and work with every possible ounce of effort to make races possible was as impressive as I’ve ever seen. We can only hope that the weather will cooperate in future seasons, as we have all learned throughout the years that we are at the mercy of nature.
Looking ahead to the future, I am pleased to announce that Switzerland has nominated me to run for another term as the FIS President. The elections will be held in Barcelona (SPA) at the FIS Congress from 1st-6th of June. I hope the FIS Congress will entrust me once again with the duty of promoting skiing and snowboarding worldwide. As I look back, I can say I am proud at what FIS has accomplished, but looking ahead there is still much work to be done.
Some of tasks ahead include the Olympic programme which needs to constantly be re-evaluated to determine how we can best present FIS disciplines to the widest global audience. In addition, the World Cup series are becoming more popular and every weekend is becoming more precious for the athletes and the Organisers. Working on making each weekly event as high profile and competitive as possible is an ongoing theme.
FIS is also committed to developing the next generation of athletes. While the World Cup takes the spotlight, it is often overlooked that FIS oversees nearly 7,000 events each season. Most of these involve athletes that are developing their skills in the hope of making it to the top level. These countless events involving thousands of volunteers, coaches and athletes are at the heart of what FIS stands for. I hope every athlete participating in events last season’s had enjoyable and memorable times.
The FIS Family will soon meet again to reflect on the last two years and discuss the future of our sports at the 49th FIS Congress in Barcelona. I’m already looking forward to seeing all of the National Ski Association delegates, committee members, representatives of the Organisers, partners and sponsors and many other participants in June in Barcelona and should our paths not cross during the summer, I look forward to the next season and the promise that it holds.
Gian Franco Kasper