Despite repeated unequivocal signs that the International Paralympic Committee is not going to change their mind about the decision to not include sailing on the 2020 Paralympic program, US Sailing President Tom Hubbell, said in a press release yesterday, “We believe that sailing is one of the best sports available to disabled athletes worldwide, and we will continue to champion its future inclusion in the Games, assisting ISAF on future reinstatement efforts—for Tokyo 2020 (should the opportunity arise), 2024 and beyond. ” They repeated this theme again, saying, ” We greatly appreciate the leadership shown in this situation by ISAF, especially by President Carlo Croce and Vice-President Scott Perry, and stand ready to assist them should there be any opportunity to reverse this decision.”
Hubbell also said in the press release, “We will collaborate with the many disabled sailing programs in the United States while sharing materials and experience with other national governing bodies looking to develop or expand their programs for disabled sailors and adaptive sailing techniques and equipment. ”
Sailing was cut from the 2020 Paralympic program in a decision announced on February 1. The reasons for the decision included sailing not meeting the mandatory elite country participation rate of 32, IFDS running only one event a year that was fully under their control, financial problems and MNAs belonging to several ISAF being sport-for-all organizations. The IPC has said that there are no other options, including the host appealing the decisions. This message was conveyed to ISAF leadership earlier this month. That was followed up by the announcement that ISAF’s Disability Sailing Committee’s President John Twomey had resigned and was replaced by Bernard Destrubé, the person charged with keeping sailing on the Paralympic Program. IPC documents imply that IFDS, where Destrubé was leading the application process, fudged the numbers to try to get them to the mandatory minimum of 32. Destrubé himself has said he tried to argue away the numbers by asking the IPC to treat boats with 2 or more people in them as team events, so they would only have to meet the lower team minimum of 20.