A delegation from FAI, the World Air Sports Federation, led by FAI President, Mr. Wolfgang Weinreich, was received in Beijing on 17th April 2002 by Mr. Duan Shijie, Vice President of the Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and Vice President of the Chinese Olympic Committee.
The FAI delegation had been invited to China to present the case for the inclusion of parachuting and skydiving events on the 2008 Olympic programme in conjunction with the Aero Sports Federation of China (ASFC), whose President, Mr Wang Baoliang, is also a Vice President of the Chinese Olympic Committee. The delegation was hosted throughout their visit by ASFC Vice President Mr Zhao Mingyu.
The FAI delegation’s other members were the President of the International Parachuting Commission, Mr B.J. Worth (USA), a former three-times World Champion and parachuting TV and film director, and Mr Max Bishop, the Secretary General of FAI, the Lausanne-based World Air Sports Federation. During an hour-long meeting, they presented the sport of parachuting to Mr. Duan Shijie, using spectacular video images of the highly successful 2001 Akita World Games skydiving event.
The “China Sports Daily” of April 18th reported that Mr Duan Shijie “highly appreciated all FAI’s efforts” and that he “had a favourable understanding for FAI’s promoting parachuting in the Olympic Games.” According to the newspaper, Mr Duan Shijie said that “…since entering FAI in 1978, China has achieved 22 world champions in air sports. Air sports have a special value to society, human development and human quality, and that’s why Chinese people are enthusiastic about air sports.”
IOC and FAI Presidents meet in Lausanne
On returning from China, FAI President Wolfgang Weinreich went immediately to the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, for a meeting on April 19th with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Dr. Jacques Rogge. Pointing out that the Olympic Games programme contained sports on water, and sports on land, but no sports in the air, Mr. Weinreich urged that the IOC should make the 2008 Olympics in Beijing the first aerial Olympics : “The Olympic motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ (‘Swifter, Higher, Stronger’) is a very noble one” said Mr. Weinreich, “but until at least one air sport is included in the Games, ‘Altius’ remains a dream.”
Also present at the Lausanne meeting, IOC Sports Director Gilbert Felli confirmed that parachuting was amongst the recognised sports being evaluated by the IOC Programme Commission for possible inclusion in the Games, and that a recommendation concerning the content of the 2008 programme would be made to the IOC Executive Board later this year.
In the meantime, FAI is continuing its efforts to demonstrate to the IOC that parachuting is a highly athletic sport, spectacular both on TV and for spectators, attractive to young people, and not very demanding as regards length of contest, number of competitors and requirements for infrastructure.
Lausanne, April 23rd, 2002
Pictures available : Welcome (144 Ko) / Talks (82 Ko) / Dinner (161 Ko)