|Ivo Ferriani - President, International Bobsleigh & Tobogganing Federation|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 16 June 2014 10:44
Ivo Ferriani has lived his life through the sport of bobsleigh. The Italian competed in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary and has also coached his national team after he retired as an athlete. It is no surprise then, that Ferriani is extremely proud to be the President of the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT).
Originally elected in 2010, Ferriani has recently been voted back in, to serve another term in office for the sport he cares so much about. In this interview, Ferriani told iSportconnect about his future plans for the FIBT and the sports he governs, their relationship with Infront and his hopes for future events in Stuttgart and Sochi.
You became President of FIBT in 2010. What led you to the position and what were the challenges when you first joined?
When I became President in 2010 it was to make an audit on the organisation and to understand the situation, and from this position to move on. I told everybody, it is not a revolution, it is just an evolution. We needed to improve. I used my motto for the campaign; “Sliding into the future,” to create a commission which made our federation modern.
You were a bobsledder during your career and competed in an Olympic Games. How important is it for you to have that experience in your Presidential role?
I am a very privileged person because I have lived within the sport my entire life. The fact that I have had the chance to be an Olympic athlete and then a coach, a director and an organiser of games, is a big help for now. Today, regarding our sport, I have all the experience from athlete, to coach and to organiser. For the politics it is also important, because I can realise things instead of just talking about them. To come from the sport makes me very pragmatic. You have to analyse a situation, find a solution and then realise it.
How did it feel to be elected President of the sport you have dedicated your life to?
I am so proud. To be the steward for the federation, because the role of President is to serve the federation, is for me a huge source of pride. I think the career of a sport person and to achieve these goals is absolutely fantastic. However, I am not satisfied. I want to be a good President.
Your peers obviously think you have been a good President, as the big news is that you have been re-elected. What did you do in your first term that convinced people to re-elect you?
I put into place the preparation for the organisation of the FIBT. I want to be the leader of leaders. The federation must be run by the governing body and the President, but all of the members must go through the government and to help improve the federation. I have opened up the discussions and I think we need to do more. We have opened the possibility of all members becoming a part of the decision making process. I also looked for transparency which was a very positive point.
What are your plans for the next term, to take Bobsleigh and Skeleton to the next level?
We have several points to achieve in the next four years. The first is to implement our good governance. Good governance is a process that is never ending. We must act to get in more athletes and more of the next generation of athletes. The Youth Olympic Games is one of those points. We want to create more bridges from our federation to the real world as well. We must implement our communications so we can communicate our points and values better. We have a huge potential and we must do more to communicate it, to attract athletes and supporters. We also want to invest more in the development of our sports. We cannot forget that we face difficult economic times and we must support our members.
When you were re-elected, Stuttgart was also named as the host city of the Bobsleigh World Push Championships 2015. What was attractive about their bid?
We have one very strong component and that is the first phase of our sport, the push and the explosion of power. We can do this in the summer and in city centres. That for us is important in promoting our game and our athletes, who are the core part of our sport. Men and women, bobsleigh and skeleton, we can show it in the centre of cities like Stuttgart. That can attract more sponsors and more participants.
Today is Stuttgart, but tomorrow it could be New York or Paris. It is very important that it can be done in any place.