Today’s instalment of Why ISGS looks towards the future. Based on what you have read on the past and the present, you probably expect another Olympic treatment, this one on Los Angeles 2028. Yes, there is some of that – but there is much more.
I was involved for more than ten years in bringing DanceSport to the Olympic Games and I can speak with some authority on the matter. It is clear that indoor skydiving is far from being able to count on the relevance and clout required to make it a serious contender for an Olympic berth anytime soon. However, keeping the aims high is a first step towards generating the momentum to change that eventually.
FAI and IPC are well advised to analyze the success stories of breaking, climbing, skateboarding and surfing very thoroughly – yes, possibly with a view to present another bid for future Games. The level of grassroots support to such campaigning seems to have increased considerably since I was Chairman of the FAI Olympic Coordinating Committee twenty years ago, but there are still those who think, “Why should I get my hopes up – we won’t get in, no way!”
I believe that the campaigning should be looked at differently. It is not a four-year sprint towards Los Angeles 2028, it is a marathon during the next decade(s) to be there every time the Olympic program is reviewed. It is a long-term endeavor which aims to add value to IPC/FAI, as well as to the other stakeholders in indoor skydiving, at every milestone reached. The way is the goal.
Being a contender every time that the Olympic program is reviewed does have merits on its own. Whether successful or not, the process tends to up the public profile of the reviewed sports and it allows for a comparison of benchmarks between the sports in contention.
The way there becomes the goal in itself. And there could be plenty of milestones along the way that I consider well within reach. Indoor skydiving will not be featured during Paris 2024, but it could be “part of the a ‘sports lab’ and/or a sports initiation program that ties in with the Olympic Games or Youth Olympic Games” (Agenda 2020 – Recommendation 6).
This cannot be achieved on the IPC/FAI budget alone. And I am almost certain that no investor plans on opening a tunnel in Senegal anytime soon. But mobile versions do exist. If the industry would co-finance setting one up and training athletes from Senegal and other African countries, a bid for a visible platform in the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games could be successful.
FAI/IPC could try to squeeze in a third event at The World Games (TWG) alongside canopy piloting and drone racing. An ambitious goal – but probably achievable. Even if it is a small one, suitable for solo events only, a wind tunnel exists in Chengdu, China, the host city of TWG 2025.
True, I just address two milestones here. And they are of a nature that would put a burden on the treasuries of those involved. To define the other, the more important milestones, to come up with the game plan that could bring "indoor skydiving to the next level," focused brainstorming would be required.
IPC President Gillian Rayner and I seemed to concur on that when we met for the second time during The Wind Games in Empuriabrava in January 2019. The more brains involved the better, we both figured. And when the IPC President mentioned that her Bureau had resolved to “get the FAI to hold a conference and to bring all tunnel stakeholders together,” I suggested Empuriabrava (the Bay of Roses) as the perfect location with the best venues.
Roland Hilfiker, ISGS Organizer and Moderator
Go to Part I!
Go to Part II!