Sad day for kitesurfing
- By Richard Branson -
- Nov 10, 2012
A sad day for one of the best entertainment sports in the world today as kitesurfing has been removed from the Olympic programme for Rio 2016.
Windsurfing has reclaimed its place in the Olympics at kitesurfing's expense, after the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) voted to reinstate it.
It is a huge disappointment for all the kitesurfers worldwide who have been training hard since it was announced in May that kitesurfing was going to be in the Rio Olympics. What a shame too for all the windsurfers who spent the last year training to become kitesurfers.
The ISAF have misled everybody and been very short-sighted in making this knee-jerk decision. Their original decision was the right one and a brave one, although my own feeling is that there is room for both sports in the Olympics. If they had to drop anything it should have been one of the less exciting sailing races, which really don't capture the public's imagination.
Kitesurfing is one of the greatest spectator sports around, pitting man against the elements. After a magnificent summer, it leaves the Olympics the poorer for this decision.
On a personal note, I have been pulling together a British Virgin Islands kitesurfing team to participate in Rio 2016. Quite a few ofthose people had switched over from widnsurfing to kitesufing and actually ended up enjoying it more. There is also a great Brtitish kitesurfing team already hard at work too. A bitter blow for everybody involved.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group