After 45 years of service to the International Ski Federation, President Gian Franco Kasper announced his intention to step down from his position at the 52nd International Ski Congress in Thailand on 22nd May 2020.
Kasper (born 1944) was elected to the position of President in May 1998. Prior to his election, Kasper was the Secretary General from 1975.
During 22 years as the FIS President, many significant milestones and achievements for FIS were reached in several areas:
FIS has expanded globally under Kasper’s leadership, growing from 100-member National Ski Associations to its current 133.
On the competition front, the development of new formats and younger disciplines have been at the forefront, most notably expanding Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding realm to include the events that attract the younger generations. In the Nordic and Alpine disciplines, the Cross-Country sprint, own Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined competitions and series for women and several Team Events were added, including in Alpine Skiing to both the FIS World Ski Championships and the Olympic Winter Games programmes.
In total, under Kasper’s leadership, the number of FIS medal events at the Olympic Winter Games increased since 1998 to 2022 from 33 medal events to 55. Additionally, the joint Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championship were created in 2015.
Kasper also recognised that the responsibility of FIS to promote and develop snowsports goes beyond top level competitions. To help stimulate the youth’s interest in snowsports, he commissioned the Bring Children to the Snow campaign, which today reaches hundreds of thousands of children each year with the aim of introducing newcomers to participate in snowsports.
FIS was also ahead of its time and already deeply engrained in the theme of sustainability more than two decades ago when it hosted the first Mainau Forum to discuss the impact of climate change on winter sports resulting in the Mainau Manifesto defining the commitment of FIS to Environment Protection. Just this last weekend, the Forum was staged for a fourth time.
Additionally, FIS established itself as a leader in the anti-doping fight, becoming one of the first International Federations to adopt the WADA Code in 2004 and going one step further by starting the Clean as Snow campaign, aimed at educating athletes and promoting their commitment to competing clean.
In other key areas of organisational governance, FIS has taken steps in improving gender equity throughout the organisation together with the National Ski Associations, implementing the Code of Ethics, Rules on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions and the Safeguarding Policy.
Kasper’s personal achievements in international sport are equally as impressive as his contributions to FIS. He was very active in the IOC, first being elected as an IOC Member in 2000 and then serving on its Executive Board from 2014 to 2018. In 2018, he was named an IOC Honorary member.
During his years serving the IOC, Kasper was a Member of the Television Commission and later Vice President of the Olympic Channel. He was part of the IOC Coordination Commissions for the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022. Additionally, he was the chairman of the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck 2012. He has also served in a number of IOC working groups to improve the organisation of the Olympic Games.
Kasper also served as the president of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) from 2000 to 2002 and 2014 is elected until 2022 and has been a member of the GAISF Council.
President Kasper will lead the organisation with the same full commitment until and during the FIS Congress on 22nd May 2020.