London – During two days of meetings in London, the World Sailing Council passed Submission M22-18 late on Monday 15 May after extensive rounds of voting to decide the Events that will be used at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
This original Submission M22-18 intended for the Finn to be retained as men’s equipment within a new event, Mixed One-Person Dinghy, however under World Sailing regulations, the actual equipment decisions have been deferred to the November annual conference.
M22-18 allows for two individual singlehanded events and one mixed singlehanded event. An option for the mixed event could pair the Finn with a new or existing class for women.
The Events Committee had previously recommended M36-18 as its preferred option, but this was rejected by Council, which then whittled the 56 submissions down to three: M18-18, M22-18 and M36-18.
After M36-18 was voted out, on the final vote, M22-18 won by a narrow margin.
The equipment for the five new events will now be decided in November 2018. Submission M22-18 made it clear the intention was to retain the Finn for the Mixed One-Person Dinghy event, but World Sailing Regulations require any new event to have new equipment (the Finn can be this “new” equipment). However, logic dictates that M22-18 was all about maintaining continuity and therefore retaining the Finn.
The intention of Submission M22-18 allows for most of the existing equipment and events to be continued, to reduce additional costs as much as possible, but with the requirement that the format of some of the Events is changed.
As the Olympics moves to an event based programme rather than a sport-based programme, it is essential that each event has a distinctive format from all other events in that sport. M22-18 also meets the requirements of gender equality, which was considered an essential part of any change to events.
The submission says: New Mixed One-Person Dinghy Event / Retain Equipment and New Equipment – this event proposal renames the current “Heavyweight Men’s One Person Dinghy” to “Mixed One-Person Dinghy”. The Finn would be retained for the men’s equipment and new equipment would be selected for the women’s event that suits women of around 70kg.*
* This will be changed. The Equipment Committee will define the criteria to decide the equipment in November 2018, with the intention to have a one-person women’s boat to suit a different physique.
While the Finn class realises that this new style of event presents challenges to those who are creating the formats for the 2024 Olympics, it is delighted that Council voted for an event slate where the Finn was potentially included.
Corinne McKenzie, Executive Director of the International Finn Association said, “The Classes with the help of the Athletes commission and the Events Committee will be working to define what is the best format option. We all have to be ready to work from a blank page. We have to be open minded to create a unique event with its own signature, while staying relevant for sailors and federations.”
Balazs Hajdu, the President of the International Finn Association, said, “We believe that singlehanded sailing is one of the pinnacles of Olympic sailing and we are glad to see that it was decided to give a chance to lighter weight women to sail at the Olympics in a singlehanded boat. This gives many countries around the world a chance to join Olympic sailing and also create youth programmes for young sailors with Olympic dreams.”