Barbara Kendall has her say
16 Jul 2012
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) voted 19-17 for the proposal, however, several sailing national bodies, including New Zealand's, have said they will appeal. A Facebook page swiftly created and befriended by 10,000 people, including Kendall, would suggest the fight isn’t over.
Kendall, who won a full set of Olympic boardsailing medals – gold (Barcelona) silver (Atlanta) and bronze (Sydney) – has said kiteboarding was dangerous, largely untested at large regattas, and an inferior class to boardsailing.
"What is highlighted is that ISAF had not done due diligence in presenting the findings to the members, facts were not presented clearly, passion and emotion charged the room and the vote was made," she wrote in her blog.
"During this meeting four out of the 10 sailing classes that were new were voted into [the] Olympic programme. I don't know many businesses that would in 24 hours change their business by 40 per cent ... It is really quite astounding."
New Zealand has won seven Olympic medals in boardsailing, including golds to Tom Ashley at Beijing in 2008, Barbara Kendall at the 1992 Barcelona Games and Bruce Kendall in Seoul (1988). Jon-Paul Tobin is set to be New Zealand's last windsurfing Olympian.
"It is exciting for kiteboarding but tragic for boardsailing. Kiteboarding really is a sport that should be at the [ESPN extreme sport construct] X Games. It's more of an extreme sort of recreational sport and the judging is just so subjective because it involves tricks and other stunts that are a feature of the X Games.
"The IOC has said it wants to move away from that sort of sport and judging, boardsailing also ticks all the gender and demographic boxes. So I was very surprised by the news and I guess they have bowed to pressure to modernise. While that is good, I do not think kiteboarding is the answer."