Prague (RWH) Delegates from more than 40 member federations, among them Togo and Mongolia as new nations, came together in the Czech capital Prague for the 90th annual Congress of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation IBSF.
Opening Words of IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell
IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell opened the Congress with his Welcome Words, appreciating IBSF President Ivo Ferriani and his team for bringing things down to the people, the athletes in every decision. “Sports has the incredible power to bring us all together”, said Kit McConnell. “This is something very positive and should always be the focus.”
Report of President Ivo Ferriani
IBSF President Ivo Ferriani gave a detailed and passionate report regarding an successful post-olympic season 2018/2019, encouraging trends and new opportunities, but also challenges for the sports including finances, changing media trends as well as sustainability and environment.
"I am looking forward to keep on walking this road with you”, said Ivo Ferriani. “If you want changes, don’t fight against something, fight FOR it!”
Report of Secretary General Heike Größwang
In her report to the delegates, the IBSF Secretary General informed about important topics regarding the Olympic movement: The Olympic Solidarity Program offers scholarships, National Olympic Committees can apply for with athletes. For the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, 30 IBSF athletes were supported through the IOC' Olympic Solidarity program. Heike Größwang also informed the IBSF Members about the Olympic Movement Code on the prevention of competition manipulation which is now fully implemented in the IBSF Statutes. In an update to the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games, the Secretary General presented information to the IOCs campaign ahead of the 100-days-to-go date on October 1 and encouraged the National Federations to take part.
Heike Größwang further reported about the IOC Athletes Forum in which the IBSF Athletes Committee representative Christina Hengster took part. The IOC Athletes Declaration is fully accepted and supported by the IBSF. Another important topic raised is sustainability which was addressed to the Congress. As member of the IOC Gender Equality Working Group Heike Größwang emphasised that the IBSF is on a good way here with, for example, two Executive Board Members, an increase from five to nine committee members and four out of six Development coaches being female. The Secretary general thankes the National Federations for their full support with nominating more female candidates.
Media & Marketing - Chances and Challenges
One of the most discussed topics of the two Congress days was Media & Marketing with the Reports of Vice President David Tomatis and Przemysław Piesiewicz (Communication) as well as Media and Marketing Partner Infront, presented by CEO Stefan Krauß. He commended the positive development of bobsleigh and skeleton sports in the media like +30% likes on Facebook or the IBSF as Nr. 1 Winter Sports Federation on Youtube. But he also defined challenges like changing media using of the younger generations of sports fans. Even if the traditional TV broadcasting will remain the priority, the presentation of the sport on mobile and social platforms like Youtube, Facebook is essential to attract and hold younger sports fans. Bobsleigh and Skeleton Sports and its athletes have great stories to tell, Stefan Krauß said, and it’s important to work together with National Federations and the athletes themselves to bring these stories to the people.
Coming World Championships and Olympic Winter Games
The IBSF Congress 2019 awarded the Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Championships 2023 as well as the IBSF Junior World Championships 2021 to the Olympia Bobrun St. Moritz –Celerina. The tracks of Sochi (RUS), Whistler (CAN) and Winterberg (GER) apply for the 2024 IBSF World Championships, as IBSF Secretary General Heike Größwang reported to the delegates. The host for this event will be decided at the IBSF Congress 2020.
Previously, Altenberg track manager Jens Morgenstern had presented the state of preparations for the BMW IBSF World Championships 2020. TONG Lixin, Sports Director of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, updated the IBSF Congress delegates to the coming Olympic track in China.
Coming IBSF Congresses in China and Jamaica
The annual congress of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation IBSF in 2020 will take place in China, host nation of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Beijing. The 2019 Congress additionally awarded the 2021 IBSF annual assembly to Jamaica.