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Kiteboarding Is Officially Part of the 2016 Olympics

The big debate in the sailing world has been whether to include kiteboarding in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. The good news for kiteboarders and kiteboarding fans is that the sport has been slowly moving forward, towards becoming part of the Olympics. And now, after intense campaigning from kiteboarding organizations, the journey is over – kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport. The decision has been made for kiteboarding to replace windsurfing at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Let’s take a quick look at the aforementioned journey, just to be thorough. We’ll keep things nice and short.

Back in May 2011, the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Council decided that either kiteboarding or windsurfing could be selected to be part of the 2016 Olympic Games that will be held in Rio de Janeiro.

In November 2011 the ISAF Council picked a team made up of ISAF and IKA (International Kiteboarding Association) representatives to evaluate the kiteboarding format and identify the event management implications if kiteboarding were to be selected as an Olympic sport.

In March 2012 the kiteboarding format trials were held in Spain and they were a success. The conclusion was that kiteboarding is ready to become an Olympic sport.

In May 2012, ISAF confirmed that kiteboarding has been officially selected as an Olympic sport and will be part of the 2016 Olympic Games. The ISAF Council put the mater to the vote – should windsurfing or kiteboarding be part of the Olympic Games? With a 19 to 17 majority, it was decided that for the men's and women's board events in Rio kiteboarding will replace windsurfing.

“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,” said ISAF President Göran Petersson.

“The decision today will change the lifes of thousands of kiteboarders that now can live their Olympic dream. The National Sailing Associations will now invest serious money to include kiteboarding into their programs and coach and support the riders to go to the Olympic Qualification events. We never thought we would get this far in such a short time,” said IKA Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner.

You shouldn’t see this as kiteboarders triumphing over windsurfers. The thing is that kiteboarders and windsurfers agree that both these sports should be part of the 2016 Olympic Games. There is still a chance that the ISAF will change its mind and include both sports, but it’s a very small one.