As FIS president, my top objectives, in no particular order, would be as follows:
Term Limits and Age Restrictions - While FIS currently works on a four-year term structure, it does not seem to institute term limits, which can result in favouritism and/or slipping into an oligarchic structure.
The current FIS president, 73-year-old Gian Franco Kasper, was first elected in 1998 (19 years); Sarah Lewis, FIS secretary-general, has been in her role since 2000 (17 years); and 76-year-old Janez Kocijancic, FIS vice-president, has been a FIS counsel member since 1981 (26 years). Instituting a maximum of two leadership terms, totaling eight years, would ensure that the FIS continues to grow and flourish with better transparency and more effective governance.
An age restriction of 67 (the mean age of retirement in Western cultures) in the executive suite would greatly increase work efficiency and allow new ideas to be brought into the executive.
FIS is a governing body running a multi-million-dollar multi-faceted machine that can require incredible nimbleness, which it currently lacks.
An elected executive team who remain in their posts for decades well into their late seventies sends the wrong message to funding sources, athletes, sporting staff, the media and fans.
Fresh leadership with term and age limits won't solve all problems, but it would be a step in the right direction.
Strong Leadership in Anti-doping - In today's sports environment, there's a lot of competition, all vying for the same sponsorship dollars, television contracts and fans, yet many sports seem to have conflicting motives in this area.
Taking a stronger stance against doping would offer better optics and is more fiscally responsible. For example, following Mclaren Reports that illustrated widespread doping practices in some FIS disciplines during the Sochi Olympics, both FIS and the IOC (International Olympic Committee), perhaps the more culpable party, seemed to be dragging their feet, but “delay can become denial” with regard to the process of transparency.
Track and Field's IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) took a strong leadership role on the Mclaren Reports and barred the Russian Federation from Diamond League events and the Rio Olympics, with a partial ban at the most recent World Championships in London because it deemed the Federation non-compliant with doping rules. While it has lost money within Russia in TV contracts, sponsorship etc., it has gained a better reputation while protecting and illustrating to its
athletes and current partners (Fortune 500 companies such as Toyota) that clean sport matters.
The FIS can and should do more, especially with its history of apathy over the past decades toward widespread doping within its member ranks in the sport of cross-country skiing.
Take Racing Where It's Celebrated - When you think of the Tour de France during its mountain stages, there are, at times, upwards of 500,000 people lining the road cheering on the athletes. The images, live video, etc., are so powerful when it comes to looking for marketing dollars, sponsorship and media deals. A festival atmosphere with thousands of fans makes an event something that people look forward to participating in every year, while making it attractive as well for sponsorship.
The FIS does a great job with this in other disciplines such as alpine (think of Wengen or Kitzbuël), but the current structure in Nordic skiing could be improved. Think beyond Oslo or Falun to places such as Quebec City, where there were thousands of enthusiastic spectators in the past. This not only showcases the sport well from a marketing viewpoint, but also grows the sport internationally with new venues and potential new sponsors and fans.
Re-think the Tour de Ski and mini-tour accumulative time. What I mean by this is move toward a point-based system for tours instead of a simple addition of each day's time, to create an overall all-time back. Instead use a World Cup point = some kind of time bonus. (For instance, in Toppidrettsveka, one point = .5 seconds for each day's top-30 finishers. Everyone outside of the top 30 gets the same finish time.) This system would keep tours closer and more competitive between all athletes, allow for an athlete to have a bad day without throwing out the entire tour and put more emphasis on actually winning a stage, similar to how it is in cycling.