A statement from Tim Lodge, chair of the ICF Athletes Committee

The athlete committee of the International Canoe Federation will lobby the International Olympic Committee to add two new medals to the canoeing program for the Paris 2024 Games.

The committee will argue that adding two medals for extreme slalom will require no additional athletes, and will also avoid disruption and uncertainty for our canoe sprint athletes, who are currently facing the prospect of losing two medals tor Paris.

Adding two medals for extreme slalom would meet the criteria of the IOC to add new and innovative sports to the Olympic program, while also protecting our important exisitng canoe sprint events.

The committee has urged all athletes to come together to work through the changes to the 2024 Olympic program.

The year 2020 has been a very uncertain and testing time for all of our canoeing athletes globally.  With training environments being restricted, competitions postponed, the chance of representing your country has been taken away.  As athletes this is what we live for and it’s been hard for many of us to come to terms with.  I want you all to be safe in the knowledge that as a committee we will continue to represent athletes across all disciplines.

The current situation relating to the change in the Olympic program that we have been placed in is no exception to this uncertainty.  It has put our committee in a difficult position with a very limited timeframe for a decision making process.  A process that we would prefer to be of timely consultation and care for the welfare of our athletes. 

The Athletes Committee was divided in opinion, there’s no surprise there. I do feel however that this was affected by the lack of time we had to decide upon the best options for all our athletes.

As chair of committee I considered all of the facts that were laid before me.  My primary focus is the welfare of the athletes.   I felt that more change in what has already been a very uncertain year could potentially be damaging to the health and wellbeing of a high number of our athlete community.   There isn’t a single person in the world that is certain about the future of our lives living with this pandemic.   I have to focus on what’s happening now and not what may or may not happen in the future. 

The athletes committee has two representatives from sprint, two from slalom, two from Paracanoe, one from Ocean Racing and one from Freestyle.  On Friday last week we had a meeting to ensure that we are clear on our objective, to support everyone.  We have attended the sprint committee meetings and your sprint representatives are working with them to develop a fair and equitable program for Paris.  I have also personally taken many calls and messages from athletes from all disciplines, coaches and federations and will continue to support where I am able.

The next Board Meeting is on the 3rd December where we will vote on a number of matters including the program for Paris 2024.  I will attend and prepare a communication to the board to summarize my discussions and feelings of the athlete community. 

I am in discussions with my colleagues in the IOC Athletes Committee to obtain their support and views.  I have also prepared a statement to the IOC to ask them to consider the inclusion of Extreme Slalom and retain the 12 Sprint events. 

I ask that you all try and understand the situation that we are in as a committee and be safe in the knowledge that we have your best interests at heart.  Our aim has always been to do what we can to make our voice heard within the ICF and support the successful delivery and growth of all disciplines. 

The world is currently watching our sport and how we respond to this, lets show them how exciting our sport can be and make plans for the future to ensure that we are not put in this difficult situation again.

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Slalom
Extreme Canoe Slalom
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