A new chapter begins for World Rowing as it names a new executive director - Federation Focus

Also: World Skate to codify global judging system; World Athletics visits Oregon ahead of next year’s World Championships; FINA plans to create Integrity Unit



Matt Smith, Jean-Christophe Rolland and Vincent Gaillard (World Rowing)
Matt Smith, Jean-Christophe Rolland and Vincent Gaillard (World Rowing)

World Rowing has a new executive director for the first time in more than 25 years.

The international governing body for rowing on Thursday announced the appointment of Vincent Gaillard to replace the outgoing Matt Smith.

Smith announced last year that he wanted to step down from the position he had held since 1995 by the end of 2021.

Gaillard, who is Swiss, will begin his duties in January 2022.

With international experience that includes the NBA, Coca-Cola’s Olympic and FIFA projects, and successively as CEO of GAISF and European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), Gaillard will work alongside World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland and Council to develop the organization’s current and future strategic plans, and will lead the staff from the headquarters in Lausanne.

Smith, who is from Los Angeles but also holds a Swiss passport, joined FISA in 1992 as Development Director before becoming Executive Director three years later.

He has worked under both Rolland and his predecessor Denis Oswald.

“On behalf of all of us at World Rowing, I would like to warmly thank Matt for his immense contribution and dedication over almost three decades, which has not only allowed our sport to grow but also our organisation to become more professional,” Rolland said in a statement.

“The arrival of Vincent starts a new chapter for World Rowing and his experience, including the development of commercial and sustainability strategies, is particularly well suited to the challenges that our organisation now faces.”

Gaillard added: “I am particularly honoured by the confidence placed in me by World Rowing and looking forward to contributing to the development of rowing around the world in the years to come, building on the outstanding work done by Matt. I am optimistic about the potential for growth in the various rowing disciplines, as well as with the organisation itself and I look forward to working with the entire World Rowing team to achieve it.”

World Skate unveils plans for a global judging system

Skateboarding made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. (World Skate)
Skateboarding made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. (World Skate)

The World Skate International Skateboard Judging Commission released a document on Friday outlining the scope, formation and eligibility criteria for its International Skateboard Judging Certification.

A three-tiered judging certification based upon progress through seminar attendance (either in person or online) and subsequent evaluation through testing will be launched in 2022.

Level 1 certification is available to judges with at least two years’ experience judging at a recognized national/ international level and will allow them to join the list of Certified International Judges permitted to judge international events held on their continent including Continental Championships.

Level 2 certification allows those judges who have already adjudicated on three World Skate-sanctioned events to serve on judging panels for qualifying events for World Championships, the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games as well as act as Head Judge for events on their continent up to and including Continental Championships.

The third level of certification afforded by the ISJC will allow recipients to act as Head Judge at all levels of World Skate-sanctioned events as well as the ability to act as an instructor for sanctioned judging courses.

Level 1 certification is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2022 and Level 2 in the fourth quarter.

The World Skate Academy has also announced its intention to start an additional ‘Fundamentals of Skateboard Contest Judging’ course for those just starting out on the path beginning in January 2022.

An “incredibly productive, energizing, and positive site visit” for next year’s World Athletics Championships

Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon will host the World Championships in 2022. (Oregon22)
Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon will host the World Championships in 2022. (Oregon22)

World Athletics was able to return to Eugene, Oregon last week for a site visit for the first time since January 2020.

“A lot of work was done at this site visit and we have made massive progress over the last few days,” said Jakob Larsen, Director of Competition and Events at World Athletics. “For me, one of the most valuable outputs is the coming together and cooperation of our teams. That spirit bodes well for the success of the event.”

This summit served to affirm what has been done since the last visit almost two years ago. It also provided an opportunity for the teams and delegates to collectively make decisions on outstanding questions in person. Topics of focus included accommodations, broadcast, community initiatives, competition, event presentation, event operations, marketing and communications, media operations, technology, and transportation, among others.

The Oregon22 local organizing committee was happy with the outcome.

“It’s been an incredibly productive, energizing, and positive site visit,” said Sarah Massey, Chief Executive Officer of Oregon22, LLC. “As we move into the readiness phase of the event, the conversations and decisions of the last week truly helped to finalize all the plans that will make this the Best of all Worlds.”

WCH Oregon22 will be taking place July 15–24, 2022.

FINA looks to establish Integrity Unit among other key reforms


Establishing an Integrity Unit was one of the recommendations made by the FINA Reform Committee.

The recommendations have been passed to member federations ahead of the December 18 FINA Extraordinary Congress in Abu Dhabi.

According to FINA, “the move will be consistent with FINA’s commitment to reinforcing the fight against doping while also taking action to prevent competition manipulation, ensure high standards of ethical behaviour and safeguard the wellbeing of all involved in the sport.”

If the recommendations are approved at the Extraordinary Congress in December, rules and board members would be voted on at FINA’s General Congress in May 2022 in Fukuoka.

FINA hopes to have the Unit operational by June 1, 2022 under the current timetable.

FINA President Husain Al-Musallam commented, “I committed to reform as a central theme of my election. And I am very happy in the way we have been able to bring together an expert team to help shape this reform. It’s critical for any organisation to have the right foundations.

“Thanks to [the] work of the Reform Committee, the changes we are submitting to the National Federations are very positive and ensure that our future success will be built to last.”

Other recommendations by the Reform Committee include improved communications and offering athletes prize money at FINA competitions.

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