On the first day of the 49th FIS Congress, the Council granted an observer position to the Athletes’ Commission. This marks the first time in the history of FIS that such a position has been available for athletes. FIS interviewed Kikkan Randall, U.S. Ski Team cross-country athlete and Chair of the Athletes’ Commission, about the decision and work of the Commission.
This is your fifth year on the Athletes’ Commission and your second year as the chairperson. What does this position mean to you?
It’s been a steady progression over the past five years. When I started in 2009, we were a newly created group. Immediately, one of our first concerns was that in order to really feel like our thoughts and concerns were being heard it was important that they were able to reach the top levels of FIS. Ultimately, that meant having a spot on the table of the FIS Council. We have been working on that as a primary goal of the Athlete Commission and it was great to get the chance to bring our proposal to the Council and have it unanimously accepted. It’s a huge step forward in regards to athlete representation at FIS.
You met this morning with the Athletes’ Commission. Are there issues raised within your meetings that are shared across all the FIS disciplines?
Yeah, it’s definitely been an experiment for us to figure out where we are within our own disciplines and where we are in general as an Athletes’ Commission. Our priority when we are together is to see where we can come to agreement on broader issues. We had a very productive five-hour meeting this morning, discussing many topics and the various goings on within FIS and what our priorities are.
So what are the priorities for the current Athletes’ Commission?
Another main priority was an insurance policy for severely injured athletes. That concept has now been adopted as a blanket policy for all athletes that have FIS licences. Other priorities involve enhancing the athlete involvement with the anti-doping programs to help promote clean sport, to continue working with the FIS Bring Children to the Snow campaign, also to further cement the existing communication lines between the athletes and the Commission and FIS.
You are a cross-country skier that is the chairperson for the Athletes’ Commission. Has it been an eye opening experience to learn from the athletes involved in the other disciplines about what issues they face and whether you all have shared concerns?
I would say that is one of the advantages of being a part of the Athlete Commission. It’s a really great place to share our different experiences and challenges as athletes representing our sports. I feel very grateful to be able to build such positive relationships with our Cross-Country Committee. It’s been a nice path for me, but that isn’t always the case for the athletes representing the other disciplines. So by sharing our experiences, everyone is learning how to build better relationships. It is different for example for the Freestyle reps that have many “events” to look after in their discipline, so it has for sure been easier that way for me to just have one sport to represent but I think it’s been great for us all to talk through our experiences and see where we can help each other.
Release courtesy of FIS