DEVON KER­SHAW

SkiTrax - - Out In Front -

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.

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