Terje Haakonsen On The FIS Decision

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Terje Haakonsen at the Baker Banked Slalom. Photo: Adam Moran

Recently, the FIS made the formal decision to block out the TTR in the slopestyle Olympic qualification process (surprise surprise). Soon after, we got this email from a man named Terje Haakonsen, who has quite a history with the two organizations at both ends of the spectrum. Read what he has to say and comment below to express your own opinion. Get extra information on the issue hereT Bird

“The most amazing thing about the whole situation is that snowboarders are dependent on a European ski organization to decide how our sport should be run. Snowboarding is an American board sport and not European skiing. Until we are in control, it will never be right.

The only good thing about this Olympic noise is that more young riders understand how incredibly arrogant politicians in the FIS are. Snowboarding will never be first priority for the FIS. Instead, alpine skiing, ski jumping and cross country fight for first place. Even the combination of two of those sports gets greater priority inside FIS than Snowboarding.

FIS is unique in international sports. I know of no other association that organizes more than one sport. Football is football, hockey is hockey, baseball is baseball, biathlon is biathlon. FIS has five different sports! There is always competition for priority within the FIS. The best skiers have threatened to create their own series several times, and it is not because they are satisfied with the way FIS runs things.

I would think that it would be good for the IOC also if the FIS had less sports to oversee, because now the FIS has too much power in the Olympics. But when the FIS president is a part of the IOC (Gian-Franco Kasper sits on the IOC commission in charge of Olympic broadcasting) there will never be any changes.

It irritates the FIS leaders that biathlon crushes their sports in television ratings in Europe. But why is biathlon Europe’s most popular winter sport on TV? Because it has its own association and guides the development of the sport itself. They only have to focus on one thing, one sport. They get up every day and think about how they can make the product better for athletes and fans.

Does anyone think that Sverre Seeberg and the other heads of the FIS council ever give snowboarding a thought No, they only think about snowboarding when they are forced to do so for political reasons — like right now, when all the snowboarding world will have an answer to the Olympic issue. We knew of course that they were going to say no because they protect their own monopoly. IOC and FIS are NOT non-profit organizations. They travel around the world treated like royals, and how they run things is a mystery since they do everything behind closed doors. They should be helping people around the world to get active in sports, but they are just big middle men that take for their own benefit and power.” – Terje Haakonsen