Press Release - for immediate publication.


At 1.00pm yesterday, December 13th, the International Olympic Committee issued a statement in Lausanne, Switzerland, which rocked both the Greek Nation and the sport of Waterskiing. The Working Group established by the IOC to review the number of sports, athletes and disciplines in the Olympic Games made a recommendation that no new sports should be added at this time.  This recommendation was ratified by the Executive Board of the  IOC and their formal surprise decision was announced by Francois Carrard, the IOC Director General.

This is an enormous disappointment for Greece and the International Waterski Federation.  As hosts of the 2004 Olympics, they had unanimously accepted that Waterskiing would be their sole choice of new sport to be added to the Athens Games. Up to twenty four hours before this IOC announcement, the Athens 2004 Organising Committee was planning on having Waterskiing in the Games and discussions regarding suitable sites, costs and television production had already taken place.  The IOC refusal of the request of the home of the Ancient Games to add it's choice of sport is unprecedented. In fact in 1988 Tennis was added in Seoul, in 1992 Baseball and Badminton were added in Barcelona, in 1996 Softball was added in Atlanta and this year, Taekwondo and Triathlon were added in Sydney.

For the International Waterski Federation and over 30 million Waterskiers, this is also an enormous disappointment.  The IWSF has spent 52 years developing it's campaign for Olympic entry. For over 10 years, IWSF President, Andres Botero and his team, have traveled the World to communicate the plan to see Waterskiing in the Olympics. His shock on personally hearing Wednesday's IOC announcement reflects the enormous support gained from all 92 IWSF Federations around the globe, from hundreds of thousands of Waterskiers and from the Greek Nation itself.  Andres Botero expressed his special appreciation for all their invaluable help and loyalty. While no mention was made by the IOC specifically naming Waterskiing, the clear message is that for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, no new sports will be added.

Immediately following the surprise IOC announcement in Lausanne, Andres Botero, IWSF President, was besieged by the World's Press for comments  He expressed his enormous disappointment both for Waterskiing and Greece. He also reminded those present that Waterskiing still remains at the top of the list for inclusion and that the decision for adding a new sport to the 2008 Games must be made in 2002. He expressed his special gratitude for all the help, encouragement and support received from Waterskiers and supporters all over the World and particularly from the Greek Nation. Without this support, the sport of Waterskiing would not  be at the very top of the list for Olympic entry and would not be so well known to the IOC. 

Fifty two years is a long journey for any sport - and especially one which includes 30 million participants in 92 countries.  The profile of Waterskiing has never been higher - and especially at Olympic level.   A sport with such a long and distinguished international background will not change it's belief that it fully deserves to be on the Olympic stage and to give it's youth a bright future.  At this point, only the 2004 Olympics have been ruled out.  Our work has not been wasted. Our Olympic structure is in place. The experience gained is invaluable and we are already setting our sights on 2008. Beijing, Paris and Toronto, three of the front contenders for the 2008 Olympics, are both strong Waterskiing supporters.

Desmond Burke-Kennedy
IWSF Media Chairman
December 14th 2000


For any further information please feel free to contact the IWSF Headquarters.
IWSF Headquarters
CP 5537 BO22
40134 Bologna Italy
Tel: +39.051.615.29.56
fax: +39.051615.5015

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