Interviews with Yelena Vyalbe, legendary skier, boss of the Russian snowsports and newly-minted member of the FIS (governing) Council are but a sheer bliss for any journalist. Calling spade’s spade is one of her specialties.
Here’s Part 1 :
“..I’m opposed to emphasizing that I’m ” the first female in FIS Council” and generally against dividing people based on their gender at work. Professionalism and enthusiasm for the job should matter, not gender or any other factors.
FIS has a range of big issues it needs to handle and tackle . The biggest one is increasing revenue from selling audiovisual rights and amending the system of revenue sharing between the stakeholders. The current arrangements are meant to be lasting till 2026 and figuring out what to do then is the new FIS president’s biggest task at hand.
The potential for televizing snowboard and freestyle, for instance, is clearly much, much higher than what we have now. On the other hand, we really have to take a sober, harsh look at the Nordic Combined which is practiced at the top level by what? Five countries in the world?
I don’t want to see reforms too radical, the way we had when with the break-up of the Soviet Union the whole system underpinning sport, including youth sport, collapsed almost overnight, destroying a lot of good with bad. Example potential rash change ? I hear lot of talk of some sort “egalitarianism ” in skiing – limiting amount of skis an athlete could use, even making same-for-everyone ski preparations. To me that’s just nonsense. The cross-country skiing is a technical sport where the winner is always a sum of her/his fitness and of how advanced her/his equipment was. The Norwegians dominate in no small part because they are the only ones who could buy, outfit and bring to the World Championships three huge trucks – the most of space in those trucks is dedicated to the best ski preparations….
PART II follows