The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) reinstated windsurfing into the Olympics program Saturday, overturning a vote from earlier this year that kicked the sailing discipline out of the Games in exchange for increasingly popular sport of kite boarding.
Meanwhile, the rug was pulled from underneath the kite boarding community, including billionaire mogul Richard Branson, who wrote that the reinstatement of wind surfing is a sad day for his favorite sport.
“Their original decision was the right one and a brave one,” Branson wrote. “Although my own feeling is that there is room for both sports in the Olympics. If they had to drop anything it should have been one of the less exciting sailing races, which really don’t capture the public’s imagination.
‘Kitesurfing is one of the greatest spectator sports around, pitting man against the elements. After a magnificent summer, it leaves the Olympics the poorer for this decision.”
Windsurfing had been knocked out of the Olympics by a 19-to-17 majority during an ISAF council vote during back in May, but Spain, as well as a few other countries, claimed that “language difficulties” and confusion led to them accidentally voting in favor of kite boarding.
British silver medal windsurfer, Nick Dempsey, who dubbed the May vote a “massive mistake,” “short-sighted” and even called kite boarding too dangerous for the Olympics couldn’t be more thrilled. He tweeted “Windsurfing is back!!!!! No kiteboarding in Rio. This is the right decision……”
He that hath the steerage of my course, direct my sail!