2017 FISA Extraordinary Congress Set to Vote this Weekend

USRowing is currently in Tokyo, Japan attending the 2017 FISA Extraordinary Congress. 

USRowing is currently in Tokyo, Japan attending the 2017 FISA Extraordinary Congress as delegates gather to vote on several issues including one which would make the Tokyo Olympic rowing schedule gender equal.

"We are looking forward to the discussion at this weekend’s Extraordinary Congress," said USRowing Director of High Performance Matt Imes. "It ‘s important that the position presented to the IOC tries to maintain the current athlete quota while achieving gender equity. But, the days of the Olympics being the same core events, quadrennial after quadrennial, are changing."

The options that will be discussed include replacing the lightweight men’s four with the women’s four, a recommendation from FISA, or replace the men’s four, keep the lightweight men’s four and add the lightweight women’s four to the Olympic program.

"The inclusion of lightweight rowing in 1996 was a great addition to the Olympic program, and there is no question that it provides universality," Imes said. "And USRowing absolutely believes lightweight rowing should have an opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. The question is where does that fit amongst the overall sports and events.

"No one wants to see the elimination of the men's lightweight four," he said. "I think FISA has a commitment to keep rowing in a strong position within the Olympic movement and wants to maintain 14 Olympic events."

The USRowing Board of Directors approved a list of "tenets" to apply to decisions affecting the sport of rowing’s place within the Olympic Games.

Place FISA in a strong working position within the Olympic Movement

Maintain minimum of 14 Olympic events

Create gender equity among events in Olympic program

Maintain current athlete quota

Retain opportunities for lightweight racing in the Olympic program.

Other items to be discussed at the Congress include membership for American Samoa, the Paralympic race length from a one-thousand-meter event to two-thousand-meters, changes to the weight and design requirements for racing shells, and adjustments to the para-classification guidelines for athletes.

The FISA Executive Committee will then submit this decision to the International Olympic Committee for consideration by the IOC Olympic Program Commission at their meeting in May. A final decision by the IOC Executive Board is expected in July.

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