Johan Eliasch elected FIS President

Rudi Riet

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Let's see what happens when the owner of Head starts reworking an institution as inertia-driven as the FIS. Eliasch is an interesting choice, being a big-time industry insider with a lot of money to throw at athletes. I'm working what he'll think of the fiscal health of FIS departments.

Note that Eliasch won on the first ballot with just over 54 percent of the vote. Behind him was Swiss Ski Federation chair (and former World Cup racer) Urs Lehmann (~22%), former Belgian FIS insider Sarah Lewis (~15%), and Sweden's Mats Arjes (~11%).

 

Muleski

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I'm a bit surprised, but I think he was the ONLY choice.
The place needs huge change and some visionary thinking. And....he does not need to line his pockets.
I like it.

Now, what the hell will happen with USSS/USST and Tiger's replacement. He can't leave soon enough for me. And they have to sweep out so many of his cronies and really lame hires.

But will they have the guts to make the right hire? Dunno. At least Marolt is out of the picture on this one.
 

Muleski

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I believe that people are already complaining that he's not selling his interest in Head. Let's be reasonable, people. He built that company into what it is today. He has confirmed that he will step down as the CEO, and that he will recuse himself form any issues that arise where there is a question of conflict of interest.

He's going to be running FIS, and I hope transforming a LOT to make the sport a lot more modern. And to give a lot more people a voice and representation. I'm just guessing that the big, old, currently powerful national Federations {think Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, maybe Norway, etc.} are not really loving this. Probably would have preferred the status quo.......FIS almost reporting to the Swiss and Austrians.

There has been chatter for years of moving to more of a factory team model. sort of like F1. And away from the National Teams. Not saying that will happen, as there is so much history and inertia.....nit to mention sponsors who love it. But, it will get MORE discussion, IMO.

Svindal and Vonn both endorsed him as part of his 10 minute video presentation. This was not that close....more than 50% on the first ballot.

He's in charge. And he does not tend to sit still. Unlike the institution, which has moved very slowly.
 

Primoz

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I was pretty surprised too when I heard this yesterday, as I didn't really think they will go for him. But regardless of that, I don't have any hopes for changes. President can't do a thing to change things nowadays, as it's more or less a puppet there (hence Kasper at his age and, no offence, almost demented state who would still be president if he wouldn't step down) . Another thing is, I have seen way too many people all fired up for changes until they got certain position in such old style organizations. Once they did, they changed for 100% and did exactly what everyone else were doing, so honestly I have absolutely no hopes for any changes. Afterall federations still need to approve every single change, and that's not easy way to do changes.
As for his Head ownership goes, I agree it's not really hygienic to be president of FIS and owner of company that has so much to do with this particular sport. But everyone knew he's owner of Head before they voted for him, so it's not something unexpected that came out after he was elected.
PS: Just in case if someone got opinion, that I don't like this result. I actually do. I'm honestly happy that finally someone who understand business and is not all his life attached to these federations sucking endless amount of money doing absolutely nothing, took over this. But I just don't have any hopes for changes, so if anything does change, I will be pleasantly surprised.
 

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Great choice. Highly capable individual that is doing it for the love of the sport. Not like it will do anything for him status or money wise. Heard a story from a guy who went to the university with Johan here in Stockholm, aparently he finished his degree in record time.
 

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There has been chatter for years of moving to more of a factory team model. sort of like F1. And away from the National Teams. Not saying that will happen, as there is so much history and inertia.....nit to mention sponsors who love it. But, it will get MORE discussion, IMO.
I seem to remember Bode saying something along the lines that Eliasch was saying. That as long as the sport is centered around national teams, ski racing will never move into the "professional" space similar to other sports. Which is understandable, it does seem to still be in the amateur space of sports, even if you are skiing professionally as a career.

Factory teams are an interesting prospect but I imagine the same worries of F1 will creep in. Teams with bigger budgets will have a significant advantage and have a bigger influence. F1 is hoping to curb that with development points and budget caps, but it is JUST beginning to take effect and only is looking to be in full effect starting next season.

I would like to make similarities to golf... but that sport also experiences its own problems.
 

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Personally I'm not really for pro teams, and honestly in sport like skiing is, I'm not really sure it will work. You can compare it with football, where every single kid anywhere on world is playing it. Skiing is limited to those 5 or 6 countries on world, and that also means money resources are slightly different then those that for example Real Madrid has in football. All money in all skiing disciplines together is probably less then single top player in football earns in year. So with so little money, and pure pro team sport, I don't think there will be much of interest on tv and with sponsors, and with pro teams, you can forget about all the money ski federations (at least in Europe) get from government. So I honestly think going into pro teams would be disaster for skiing. Afterall, in xc skiing you have Visma Classic tour for years now, that is actually based on pro teams. And result? Races with 40-50 people on start, and absolutely no media coverage. And for racers, I'm pretty sure those under ski federations racing World cup are on way better then guys in pro teams of Visma classic tour.
 

Muleski

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I feel that the list of what MAY actually change, substantially, say over the next five years may end up being a short one.

As @Primoz notes, this is a very political body, and particularly those running and representing the big national ski federations like it as is….and will likely block and/or fight change.

However, Eliasch is a different guy than they have ever had in the seat. Smart, energetic, a serious leader and no politician. We’ll see how this unfolds. The sport is an odd one. And I always read @Primoz’s posts in detail, and appreciate them, as his point of view is different than mine. For example, the Nordic world is huge….and when I think of FIS, I neglect it.

Something akin to factory teams would be enormous change, and I honestly have not had conversations about the pro’s and con’s….or many. May be impossible, but thinking outside the box is important.

There has been chatter about a union forming to represent the athletes. Good? Horrible?

As a friend quite “high up” in the sport mentioned yesterday, just because Eliasch has turned Head into an absolutely dominant force in alpine racing, and has executed brilliantly based on the sport as it is, DOES NOT mean that he does not see even more issues than he has let on to.

I just feel it needs a real shake up. Even putting a bit of fear in some, forcing some tough self examination and review, etc. would be a plus. I think.

We’ll see, I guess.
 

Jack skis

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Ski Racing had a series of articles featuring the candidates for the job, which I read. From my reading of the articles I thought Eliasch's comments about what he'd do (or try to do) while in the job sounded very good. I gave him top points after reading the article, except for feeling uncomfortable about his history with Head, both owning and running that company. Now he's in the job, one can but hope. Personally I would have voted for Sarah Lewis after the way the good old boys treated her. It would have been a revenge vote.
 
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Rudi Riet

Rudi Riet

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If I'd been in the voting population for this office I'd have voted for Eliasch without any hesitation.

Lehmann would've been my second choice.

My issue with Lewis is that she was part of the old system for years, and while I'm sure she was treated like complete crap by the testosterone-dominated inner sanctum of the organization she didn't really say anything that wasn't toeing the party line.
 

Primoz

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I wasn't reading any of interviews or presentations or anything similar, simply as I honestly don't care much who is president, but I was hoping from moment he announced he will go for it, that Eliasch will win. I was pretty sure he won't so I was surprised to see result.
As for others, both Lehmann and Lewis are part of old system. Yeah Lehmann was not much into FIS, but being in Swiss ski is pretty much same, and Lewis is in FIS all her life. And no, I don't feel sorry at all for how she was treated. She was part of system, until she wanted to make it her own system, and they kicked her out. She's not victim in this, so no "revenge vote" for her. Only one not in this old system is Eliasch, so even though I still think it's not really hygienic to be president of FIS and owner of company so heavily involved in this same sport, I still think it's way better option then anyone of those two. Those two are exactly same as if Kasper would go on for another 30 years. Maybe different surname and different looking face, but exactly same mentality and attitude.
And while I still think Eliasch has zero chance to change anything, he will hopefully at least try. Lehmann or Lewis wouldn't even try, regardless of their possible promises before voting.
 

James

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How would “pro” teams change things? I think it might actually cause even less public interest. At least in the US. Unless it became a major gambling event. Don’t see much good coming out of that.

Wouldn’t the number of spaces, racers, be limited anyway? It’s not like you’re going to have 200 racers in one race.
 

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