(ATR) The expertise and support of FIS, the International Ski Federation is needed in the final months to the first Winter Olympics in Korea.
Gian Franco Kasper, FIS President and IOC member in Switzerland, is also the president of the group representing the winter sports, the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations.
Often outspoken, Kasper is a member of the IOC coordination commissions for PyeongChang and Beijing, Winter Olympic host for 2022. Both cities are newcomers to the winter Games and need the expertise of people like Kasper.
Sarah Lewis, the long time FIS secretary general, is overseeing the day to day progress of preparation in PyeongChang that includes this season of test events.
In addition to the preparation for 2018, Kasper, as a member of the IOC Executive Board will be dealing with thequestion about what to do with Russian athletes implicated in doping violations from the Sochi Olympics. That may include taking a decision on whether a blanket ban on Russia is appropriate.
Should the IOC sanction Russian skiers, it will be up to FIS to take the final disciplinary action against the Sochi competitors.
With the next two Winter Olympics in Asia, Kasper and Lewis, along with their FIS colleagues, are one factor in the equation that is supposed to result in growth for winter sports in China and Korea.
Kasper says he’s impressed with efforts in China, but not so for South Korea.
"It’s different in Korea and to be honest I’m a little bit disappointed – they haven’t invested enough in new athletes and new teams in alpine skiing," he said last month.
"It’s a pity because the success of the organization of an Olympic Games is compared to the success of the home team," Kasper said, pointing out that Korea has no competitive alpine skiers.
Written by Ed Hula.