FIS trip TTR at Olympic Hurdle

Danny Burrows
Scotty Lago by Sami Tuoriniemi
The infamous Air&Style, one of the oldest events in TTR history - and apparently too big for the FIS... or too popular? Scotty Lago sending it, photo by Sami Tuoriniemi

There is a new development in the furore between the TTR and the FIS today. It concerns a lack of agreement on the part of the FIS to form a joint qualification system with the TTR for the 2014 Olympic snowboard events of halfpipe and slopestyle.

At an meeting of the FIS Council on Monday, the TTR tabled a proposal for a joint qualification system for the 2014 Games. Its main tender was to establish a qualification system in which the top FIS World Cup events would be coupled with top TTR events to form a joint “Olympic Qualification System” that in the words of the TTR would be “widely supported by the riders, the nations and the global Snowboard Community.”

The response from the secretary general of the FIS, Sarah Lewis, fell well short of finding a satisfactory solution. According to her letter to Reto Lamm, the president of the TTR, the FIS would be willing to allow member National Associations to register lower level TTR events in their calendar, therefore allowing riders to gain FIS points towards an Olympic qualification. But what they didn’t agree on was the inclusion of elite TTR events, stating that “a process needs to begin at a lower level than the top events in order to build trust and understanding between the organisations and persons involved.” She ended her letter by saying that further discussion would occur post 2014 to access how the system worked and if any further amendments to the agreement should be made.

The route by which minor events on the TTR schedule can earn riders qualification points to the Olympics already exists and therefore the FIS’s position towards a joint qualification system remains unchanged. This is unacceptable to the TTR as riders will be unable to balance their competitive calendar satisfactorily if they are to compete in both TTR and FIS events that can gain them entry into the games. Leaving elite level TTR events outside of the Olympic qualification system, would create a fractured competitive scene that is not beneficial to riders or the sport.

As it stands Reto has written to the FIS explaining the organisations dissatisfaction at the outcome of the recent FIS Council meeting, stating that it will be business as usual at the TTR, until the FIS comes back with a more agreeable solution.

Lets hope that the FIS realise their folly and acknowledge that for the good of snowboarding and the welfare of the top riders involved it would be best if they could find a common ground with snowboarding’s core representative organisation.

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