Kiteboarding has officially become an Olympic Sport, and will make its first appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.After intense campaigning by the International Kiteboarding Association and various other influential’s in the kitesurfing industry, their efforts finally paid off.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has confirmed the final event and equipment selections for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
After a long and heated discussion with lots of enthusiasm for both sports, ISAF Council voted with a 19 to 17 majority that Kiteboarding will replace windsurfing for the men’s and women’s board events.
ISAF President Göran Petersson stated, that “Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games.”
Sir Richard Branson one of the IKAs Olympic Ambassadors and supporters from the very first minute added: “Well we all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio ! Kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport! To celebrate this, myself, my family and a few friends will this week attempt to kite across the English Channel to show off the beauty of kite-surfing.”
In November 2011 an evaluation group was appointed to examine kiteboarding formats with the board events for Rio 2016 defined as ‘windsurfing and/or kiteboarding’. The Evaluation Group recommended that kiteboarding be included in the ISAF Event family including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships but Council went one step further and selected Kiteboarding for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition as well.
IKA Executive Secretary said: “The decision today will change the lives of thousands of kiteboarders that now can live their Olympic dream. The National Sailing Associations will invest hundred thousands, if not millions of Euros to invest in equipment, coaching and supporting the riders to go to the Olympic Qualification events. We never thought that we will get that far in so short time.”
Kristin Boese, 9x Kiteboarding World Champion and also lobbying for Kiteboarding in the Olympics Campain during the ISAF mid-year meeting in Stresa concluded: “I still can’t really believe what happened! There was a lot of support for kiteboarding in the ISAF council room yesterday but we thought we were not going to stand a chance against windsurfing which is such an established class within the ISAF. After the council debate was over we knew that the decision was going to be a lot closer than we had originally expected, but we still never thought it was going to go our way. It is an incredible surprise and I am very excited for kiteboarding and incredible greatful for all the hard work the IKA has put into the Kiteboarding in the Olympics campaign – what an amazing campaign to have been a part of.”
After spending the last four years in London, in the safekeeping of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the Olympic flag has now arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it is on display at the Palácio da Cidade, Rio’s ceremonial city hall.
Since the flag was handed to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes by IOC President Jacques Rogge at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the flag has been flown across the Atlantic and has visited a number of different places in the country.
One of the first stops for the flag after its arrival in Brazil was Brasilia and the Palácio do Planalto, where it was presented to the President of Brazil, Dilma Rouseff, in the company of two of Brazil’s Olympic medallists, boxing brothers Esquiva and Yamaguchi Falcão, who won silver and bronze medals in London respectively.
Closer to the Olympic venues in Rio, the flag has also visited the Complexo do Alemão favela and the Christ the Redeemer statue, where an inter-faith ceremony was held in honour of the flag’s arrival in the city. The flag is now on display to the public at the Palácio da Cidade.
The eyes of the sporting world were set firmly on Brazil when the handover of the Olympic flag took place during the London 2012 Closing Ceremony, highlighting Rio de Janeiro as the next host city.
The segment saw the Olympic Stadium transformed into a sea of green and yellow in honour of the Brazilian flag, creating a carnival atmosphere that celebrated the country’s mix of culture, music and dance, and included samba dancing from Renato Sorriso, popular Brazilian singer Marisa Monte, model Alessandra Ambrósio and an unexpected appearance from footballer Pelé. Audiences around the world were then treated to an eight minute Brazilian spectacle during Rio 2016’s portion of the show, the brainchild of creative directors Cao Hamburger and Daniela Thomas.
The Rio de Janeiro Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Rio 2016) has released further details of what to expect from the Games in 2016.
One of the themes for the 2016 Games is “A city leaps forward”, reflected by the organising committee’s decision to have Brazilian children present the video outlining the city's plans to build venues and infrastructure a few weeks ago at the IOC Session.
The competitions in Rio will be held in four zones across the city, with venue clusters in Copacabana, in Deodoro and around the Maracanã stadium, while the Olympic Park will be built in Barra.
In addition, the Olympic football tournament will be staged in various stadiums around Brazil, with cities including São Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Salvador. Rio 2016 said in a recent statement that construction is running on time and that they are “delivering on our promises” to transform the city and its transportation network. So with London now over, the people of Brazil are looking forward to seeing you in Rio in four years time!