Runner's Web

Olympic Threat To Triathlon - A View From Inside The ITU

OK - so this is a letter from the European rep on the ITU. It has been circulating since Sunday. She remains president of the Swiss Triathlon Federation (triSuisse).

But just in case any of you had any lingering doubts about the mnagement style of the ITU, please see the attached. The court action referred to is the case in Vancouver, brought against Les McDonald's ITU by six national federations, including Germany, Poland, Costa Rica and Ireland, alleging vote fixing at the 2000 ITU Congress and financial irregularities by the man who was forced to resign from TriCan.

Anne-Marie Gschwend
Zürich, Switzerland

To: Executive Board Members ETU
Presidents and EB Members
European Triathlon Federations
Zurich, 11.11.2001

Dear Presidents and EB members of the European Triathlon Federations

For those who have not yet seen the report from Mark Sisson [ITU secretary general] about the Executive Board meeting in Cancun, I am sending it as an attachment, with some very important additions from my side. Mark talks about the usual “housekeeping” work, but fails to mention that I have resigned as European Representative from the ITU E-Board because of a fundamental disagreement with the leadership of Les McDonald [ITU president] and due to his aggressive, primitive and undistinguished way of dealing with real problems which are arising in the ITU.

It is no longer a secret that Les and all Executive Board Members (with the exception of me) got a letter from the IOC president Dr. Jacques Rogge, dated 21 September 2001, with the following wording:

Re: Current disputes in relation to the International Triathlon Union

Dear President
Ladies and Gentlemen,

During its meeting held on September 18, 19 and 20, 2001, the IOC Executive Board notes that no clear solution to the pending disputes was presented as request in the letter from Mr. François Carrard on July 21, 2001. Consequently, I herby inform the International Triathlon Union that at its next meeting, which will take place in Lausanne, on December 11,12 and 13, 2001, the IOC Executive Board will consider, without further notice, possible measures or sanctions to be taken by the IOC 113th Session with regard to the International Triathlon Union.

Yours very truly
Dr. Jacques Rogge, President

This is an alarming letter for all of us and it cannot be answered simply by quoting Chapter 3, item 29 ( Recognition of IFs) and item 30 (Role of the IFs) out of the Olympic Charter, neither can we impress the IOC president with a new website or nice reports about events and success of our triathlon “family” (which does no longer exist since the refusal to acknowledge Europe as a region with most triathlon federations and some of the best athletes), nor can it be done by improved propaganda for the leadership of ITU in all the possible media. It can only be resolved by jumping over its own shadow and stretching out hands for a better understanding, and it would not hurt to say, that mistakes have been made in the past on both sides for one reason or another.

During both meetings, November 2 and 4, I asked for the favor to accept the actual ETU E-Board and the European Constitutions provisionally for one year, with the task and the goal to amend the European constitution within this period. Under the aggressive and dictatorial influence of Les, the E- Board once again served the leader and not the sport, and my suggestions of conciliation were denied. I also tried to prevent ITU from initiating a new point system in Europe for ITU Points Races. The outcome is still unclear to everyone, but this is just not the time to come up with those kinds of ideas.

Important to all of you are the Constitutional Amendments which will be presented at the next ITU Congress in Cancun, November 2002 with the following wording:

The National Federations that are affiliated to ITU by virtue of meeting the constitutional requirements shall be members of the Region wherein they are located:
· Africa
· America
· Asia
· Europe
· Oceania

Each of the five regions will:
· apply in writing for affiliation to ITU
· pledge to abide by the Constitution and Rules of ITU (including Competition
Rules, Event Organizers manual, Doping Rules, etc.)
· submit a constitution from the region for approval by ITU
· submit a venue and date for the regional championships for approval by ITU
· submit a venue and date for the regional qualifying events for approval by ITU.

Please wake all up and help to accomplish the requirements of adapting the European Constitutions, Rules and Regulations to the ITU standards. We were ready to do so in Carlsbad, but we should not waste any more time now. Our sport will suffer badly in the future if we do not find ways to work together, may it be from the European or the International side.

I thank you all for the confidence you placed in me in the past after the historical ITU Congress in Perth. After what happened there, I tried hard as European Rep. to build the bridge between the European and the International Triathlon Unions, but failed. The battle is going on very personal on both sides and people became the target of attacks. Standing in this buffer zone and being verbally abused as so many others are, have been or will be by our president, is not what I have been looking for after working voluntarily and very hard for many years to serve our sport! Please wake up and fulfill your duties as president of a European Triathlon Federation and help to make the dreams of your athletes come true!

Best regards

Anne-Marie Gschwend

[Posted from November 13, 2001]

Top of Story