During this historical and difficult moment, that is affecting the entire world, we have been working hard behind the scenes to understand the best way to move forward. It has been a long period of one-to-one and collective meetings with all the stakeholders: athletes, judges, national federations, industry, IOC – to find a way to manage the current situation. Through out it all, safeguarding everyone’s health has been our top priority.
Today we held an extensive Executive Board meeting and together have agreed on the need to adapt our calendar to this exceptional and difficult moment. Keeping in mind that any path forward must protect our athletes’ health and the fairness of competition; the main topic tackled was of course any possible adjustment about world, continental and national events.
Painful decisions had to be made, but as always, athletes’ safety was our main goal.
Of course, the first changes concern Olympic qualification. The IOC, for the very first time in history, has decided to reschedule the Olympic Games: only during the two World Wars were the Games cancelled and we’re glad to hear from Bach that, “Tokyo 2020 cancellation is not in the agenda”. Rescheduling the Olympic Games means that we will have the chance to re-organize season #2 of Olympic Qualification, which we’ve had to suspend in total due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic. The new date for the Games is still under consideration and will hopefully be made clear in the coming weeks: we’ll see what the final decision of the IOC will be. As soon as we know the new date, we will begin drafting a new qualification schedule, taking in to account athletes’ needs, as we absolutely want them involved. We will continue working closely with the IOC and the WHO in order to ensure that when competition re-starts, all precautions and safety measures are taken into account.
Our concerns are of course not only about the Olympics, but also for all of our discipline’s international events. At the moment, we’ve had to postpone the World Championships – inline hockey and inline speed skating - to be held in Colombia in September. However, we can confirm that inline freestyle world champs in Shanghai and artistic world champs in Asuncion will keep with their original schedule.
Regarding the Executive Board’s focus on national activities: it’s our goal to restart the national championships as they engage thousands of athletes, our base and our future, and this will contribute to going back to normal life. Our priority will go to national events even though it means that we must reschedule the international calendar.
I want to warmly thank my friends on the Executive Board for their huge support and fairness during these harsh days.
Let me add only a few words. The situation has been really tough during the last months and the lockdown is so hard to manage for all of us. We are sport people; we are used to sacrifice and respect; this is the time to show all our strength!
A huge hug to all of you and to all the people now challenged by the virus all over the world. We will be together soon.
World Skate President