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The Keynote

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

Indoor Skydiving 2020 | First Global Summit (ISGS) has put the focus on the past, present and future of skydiving indoors/outdoors within the world of sports. Obe could easily consider a participation in The World Games five years from now to be too ephemeral an undertaking to deserve much of a mention here. But we all know that it does need to be brought up.

Joachim Gossow, the Chief Executive Officer of the International World Games Association (IWGA), looks at skydiving in previous editions of The World Games (2001 to 2017) ... Parachuting/skydiving (canopy piloting) is again part of the program in 2021, during The World Games in Birmingham, USA. And what will happen in 2025 Chengdu?

The IWGA CEO Joachim Gossow delivered the keynote address below on the occasion of Indoor Skydiving 2020 | First Global Summit (ISGS). Even though the International Skydiving Commission of the World Air Sports Federation was not directly involved in the summit, the statements by CEO Gossow should be considered by all stakeholders in air sports.

Hello Summiteers,

It is a pleasure being here with you over the next two days. No, it is not the first time I come to Empuriabrava – or, politically correct, to CASTELLÓ D’EMPÚRIES – it is my third: the charm. I know Roland from The World Games.

Our friendship goes back to the 2001 edition in Akita, Japan, when I was appointed Sports Director for the games to be held four years later in my hometown Duisburg. I remember very well how air sports, that consisted of four parachuting/skydiving events back then, caught everyone by surprise when they established a spectator record with some 16,000 people who came to watch on each of the two competition days.

I liked what I saw myself and thought that it was well deserved: a small sport that had not been fully on my own radar beating biggies like rugby or gymnastics. That is sports!

I studied sports in Cologne and have spent my entire life tied to them ... one way or another. I played and coached handball, I was into canoeing because everybody in Duisburg is into canoeing. It’s where Germany trains its Olympic canoeing athletes. I was in charge of school sports for the City of Duisburg, too. And much, much more!

In my capacity as Sports Director of 2005 Duisburg I came to Empuriabrava to gain insights into skydiving – and even though Roland had invited me to make a Tandem jump, I didn’t get around to it. My partner did and would probably have done the full course, if I hadn’t stopped her. In fact, she ended up being the venue manager of the parachuting/skydiving events in 2005 and still talks about it today.

We both dealt with an FAI official at the time whose name was Dr. Rainer Hoehnle – but he was far better known as EXI. The most kicked-back, relaxed medical doctor I’ve ever met. And had he considered putting a “T-U-S” (as in EXITUS) at the end of his nickname, we would have had even more laughs together.

I think even the speaker at The Wind Games yesterday was part of your team back then.

Now Roland, the organizer of this summit, brings me to Empuriabrava again to check out indoor skydiving. What I have seen so far is convincing.

You have my curiosity and I am eager to listen to you discuss its future. But let’s make sure of one thing. Whatever my conclusions will be at the end of it all, they are just that: my own conclusions – and they don’t have any official character whatsoever. I am not speaking on behalf of the organization that employs me.

I have been appointed Sports Director of the International World Games Association right after Duisburg and became a CEO a few years later. As such and together with the IWGA board, I deal with approximately 40 different sports for every single edition. That is more than the Olympics.

All our federations are challenged to put forward their best disciplines and events to make The World Games into an attractive multi-sport event. For the public at large – for the media!

Some of the disciplines and events which we have featured over the years were “indoor variations” too: Indoor Hockey was the wintery or off-season substitute for the far more popular hockey or land hockey. Indoor rowing is performed on a machine to simulate the action of watercraft rowing, mostly for the purpose of exercise or training. But it has established itself as a sport in its own right.

Now I am all eager to learn more about indoor skydiving. Shoot!

ISGS representatives shot multiple rounds - and in rapid succession - all of them with good criteria, to have indoor skydiving redefined for 2025 - and for the discipline be ready to premiere in The World Games in that year ...

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