The Path to the Olympics
Here is where we are in the Olympic Initiative as of December, 2005.
CADA is a full voting member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, which is the IOC member in Canada. We are proud to be a part of the Olympic movement in Canada. The majority of our fellow National Sporting Federations (NSFs) have done the same in their countries; more than half of IDSF's members are now members of their recognized national Olympic affiliates.
Our international parent body, the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF), based in Lausanne, Switzerland (where the IOC also has its headquarters), has been fully recognized by the IOC for more than eight years as the sole governing and representative body for DanceSport in the world, and the body with the "Olympic role" for DanceSporttwo major achievements on the road to the Games.
IDSF and DanceSport received a big boost in December, 2005 when it was announced that IOC Honorary Life President Juan Antonio Samaranch had accepted an unprecedented appointment as "IDSF Special Ambassador At Large".
Mr. Samaranch, although retired from office, retains immense influence in the Olympic movement, is still very active in it, and can make introductions and suggest strategies that are likely to be very helpful to IDSF and DanceSport. His support is very helpful to us, and is a sign to the sporting world: he is a very busy man but has taken this appointment as a volunteer, without any expectation of payment or other gain, because as one of the leaders in world sport, he supports and is committed to our aspirations to make DanceSport an Olympic Medal Sport.
Although there is still a chance that new sports will be admitted to the 2008 Beijing Games, we do not anticipate competing for medals until the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. This is not because we are slow or lack ambition! It is because, first of all, we are not the only ones who want to be admitted to the Games! We are not so much standing in line as working in the same room with many other international sport organizations, while at the same time IDSF is developing our television skills through our exclusive 11-year Representation Agreement with the multinational sports media giant IMG/TWIas the IOC has said, without a developed television presence, it is much harder for a sport to be admitted to the Medal Programme.
Many people have now seen some of the exciting IDSF/IMG special programs on TV; an estimated 500 million viewers worldwide watched the 2005 IDSF World Latin DanceSport Championship held in the Czech Republic. This enormous growth in our television audience is a direct result of the IDSF/IMG Representation Agreement.IDSF received Provisional Recognition from the IOC in 1995, and full Recognition in September, 1997. Dancesport now is an "Olympic Sport"; the IOC says so. However, it is not a Medal sport yet. The really hard work and the time-consuming aspect of our bid lies in the system of qualification and heirarchy in the IOC. Our plans are subject to many decisions by the IOC, which has recently decided to remove two existing "Olympic" sports from the Medal Programme, but which declined to make any decisions about replacing those sports; both Karate and Squash, which have good administratoin and sporting programmes, and are ranked by the IOC with DanceSport in the "Top 10" aspiring sports, decided to apply during the summer of 2005, but received very little support and so did not succeed. Their results suggest that there will be no change to the Medal Programme in the near future, probably at least until the summer of 2006. DanceSport is not going to make a premature or untimely application. We are careful and we are determined to proceed when all signs indicate that we can succeed.
It is clear that the IOC is carefully examining all its options and considering what kind of sporting competition the Summer Olympic Games should be. We will continue our representations to them, and continue to inform them better about our sport. By the end of 2009, if not sooner, we hope to win Admission to the Medal Programme, and to be accepted for inclusion by the 2012 Summer Games organizing committee, that is, by the "host country".
Then in 2012 our athletes would be able to compete in the 2012 London Summer Games.
At this stage in sport history, one sizeable advantage DanceSport has in our bid for Admission to the Medal Programme is absolute 100% Gender Parity, with men and women competing together, against each other, on the same playing surfacesomething almost unheard-of in sport.
Much administrative and qualifying work will have to be done, especially in the areas of team selection, coaching and judging criteria, controversial areas like doping control, and conforming with various Olympic goals. The IOC is in the driver's seat in this matter; if we could have got into the 2004 or 2008 Games we would have made every effort, but in 2002 the IOC decided to admit no new sports to the 2004 Games due to their concerns about various developments in the sport world, including the organizational problems which the 2004 Athens Committee has experienced; and it is clear that they are still hesitating to admit any sports for the time being. The IOC's procedures are complex and demanding, reflecting the fact that the Olympic Games are very complicated sporting competitions, technically, administratively and politically, and when admitting new sports, they have made it clear that they are going to do it right, rather than do it by any particular date.
But we are making a lot of progress.
DanceSport and its community across the country will be involved in the CADA Olympic Initiative. They will want to be out of national pride and personal ambitions and integrity, and also for the immense benefits the Olympics bring. For example, after every Olympics, registration for sports that have appeared in the Games on TV soars. And, participation in the Olympics brings that thing we have had a hard time to get — "reach", the media exposure that is essential to major sponsorships from big companies that will raise money for athletes, training centres, and dance teachers.
As a result of careful work by the IDSF, particularly our President, Mr. Baumann, the IOC has been warming up to DanceSport for years. In 2000, then-IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and 100 IOC Members, including the Chairs of the Program Committee and the Athletes' Committee, attended a specially-produced IDSF World DanceSport Competition produced at the IOC's request in Lausanne, Switzerland. This competition was a great success and persuaded many IOC administrators and decisionmakers that DanceSport should be included in the Olympic Games.A few years later, in June, 2004, the IOC welcomed IDSF into its main meeting hall at "the IOC Capital", Lausanne, Switzerland, to hold the IDSF Annual General Meeting there for the fourth time since 1996. IDSF's President and Treasurer, both of whom live and work in Switzerland, continue their high-level meetings with the IOC's top sporting officials; Mr. Samaranch's appointment as IDSF Special Ambassador At Large is one direct result of this careful, long-term work.
IDSF is more fully entrenched in the International World Games Association (IWGA) and DanceSport figured in a dazzling way in the 1997 World Games,held in Lahti, Finland. IWGA President Ron Froehlich is a prominent participant in IDSF AGMs and a colleague we value particularly. DanceSport was again front and centre in the 2001 World Games, held in Akita, Japan, and the 2005 World Games, held in Duisburg, Germany, and CADA sent two of its registered DanceSport competitive couples to each of these Games to represent this country. We have been invited to send competitors to the 2009 World Games, which will be held in July, 2009 in Taiwan.
To cement the relationship further, IDSF Treasurer Lukas Hinder, a Swiss from Zurich, is simultaneously Treasurer of IDSF and Treasurer of the IWGA, and has an excellent relationship with the IOC and the Swiss Olympic Committee.
CADA and IDSF are confident of a bright Olympic future for DanceSport.
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Visit the websites of CADA's Regional Associations:
- Dance Sport Quebec
- DanceSport Alberta
- DanceSport BC
- Ontario Amateur DanceSport Association
- DanceSport Atlantic Association
International DanceSport Federation
The Canadian Amateur DanceSport Association is the recognized Canadian Member of the IDSF. Visit the IDSF web site at http://www.idsf.net