I think the thing that bothers me the most about the way that the FIS does business is that the FIS appears to be an unassailable bureacracy. If they were right all the time, it wouldn't be a problem, but I don't think they are. The new GS regs are but one example. Unless I'm missing something, nobody came to the FIS and said "Ya know, I think GS on the WC is really dangerous, and I expect you to do something about it!" On the contrary, the FIS alone came up with this initiative, which nobody...save Amer...agreed with.
Any bureaucracy is going to have its limitations. Over the past 30 years or so, the US president and legislature have produced a remarkable and disgraceful record of self-serving, inept, deceitful so=called service to the citizens who have elected them. We do, however, get to throw the bums out on a regular basis...even though the bums we get to vote in are seldom better than the churls we just threw out. But at least we get to clean the stables every once in a while.
Not so, apparently, the FIS. I can't figure out who the FIS answers to, if anyone. Okay, maybe it's the FIS Council Members, and the National Ski Associations. But somehow I don't think their vote is going to make any real difference. So fine...let's dream on for a minute. I'm King for a Day, and you know what I'm going to do? Fire every member of the FIS. Each and every one. Gian-Franco Kasper, you've been stealing your paycheck for long enough. Have your desk cleared out in an hour, and go fleece some other bunch of suckers...such as the Euro market for the Sham Wow. Atle Skaardal, don't even clean your desk out, just hit the bricks. As a former racer, you're a FIS rubber stamp and a disgrace to the great sport of ski racing. I think you can probably get a job setting pins in a bowling alley in Oslo. FIS General Secretary, Mrs. Sarah Lewis, of Great Britain, you can hit the bricks, too. Whatever you are supposed to have been doing, it couldn't have been worth a nickel, because I don't know what it is. I think they have openings for ash tray technicians at British Air. And all the rest of you, get out. Just get out.
"Gee", you say. "But now there's no FIS." My point exactly. It's time for summer training, and we don't need the FIS, as if they do much of anything worthwhile during the active race season. Now, in their stead, I'm going to hire the following:
- Somebody to deal with safety. I'm looking for somebody who has been in the race community, preferably also with experience with an equipment manufacturer...but basically, I just want somebody who knows what solar system he or she is in. Go do some research on the safety aspects of ski racing, and come back to me with your findings. Let's say all you come up with is "Boss, ski racing is a dangerous sport, and there ain't much we can do to make things better. It's better than street luge, but not much, and apparently, the athletes know this, and have decided to race regardless." Okay, fine. That's our mission statement, and we ain't looking back. On the other hand, if you say "I think that x can make ski racing safer, I need y dollars to investigate," fine. I'll get you the money for it, but your results better stand up to scrutiny before I pull the trigger on any changes.
- Somebody to deal with the financial and market aspects of ski racing. I mean, come on...the Denver Broncos are paying an almost 40-year old guy with a history of serious neck injuries 18 milllion dollars to play football (or not) next year? And Lindsey Vonn and Marcel Hirscher have dream seasons, win everything in sight, and their take home is something like 600 K? Yes, I know,couch potato America doesn't care about ski racing except during the Olympics, but there has to be a way, and it's your job. Get on it, and have some proposals to turn things around...next month.
- Somebody (not twelve people), to travel around to the WC sites and make sure everything is hunky-dory. Since all the areas, the manufacturers, and racers all know the rules, and what happens if you disobey them, the FIS Somebody in charge of this work can be a reasonably talented monkey.
- Somebody whose sole job it is to interface with the manufacturers. They're funding a huge portion of the ski racing empire, and their vote counts and needs to be heard. Obviously, the manufacturers are in heavy competition, so this FIS somebody needs to be knowledgeable, even handed, and approachable.
- Finally, somebody who represents the racers, and this is somebody who is a currently active racer. I nominate Bode Miller...but it could be Axel Svindal, Julia Mancuso, or Marcel Hirscher. The drill for this somebody is you have to represent the racers...not the racers as they're instructed by their national federations, not the racers as they're paid by their sponsors, not the racers as they think the FIS wants them to behave. The racers themselves, and nobody else.
There...that ought to do it...any seconds to the motion?