That moment when your president goes off-piste again

Opinion /  / 

It’s one of life’s great mysteries, why people who complain of being misquoted, or taken out of context, are so often the people to whom that sort of thing seems to happen quite a lot.

It must be a drag, to be one of those people, always having your words twisted.

Why, they must wonder, can’t people just say what I mean? Instead of what I said, which is ob-viously not what I meant! It must be thoroughly vexing to be Gian Franco Kasper, for example.

Kasper is the 75-year-old president of the International Ski Federation who veered dangerously off-piste in an interview for the Swiss newspaper, Tages Anzeiger, earlier this week.

In the article he expressed some very “interesting” opinions on climate change and the benefits of working with dictatorships that DEFINITELY should not have been taken literally, but were. Darn!

‘Dictators’, he mused, ‘can organise events without asking the people’s permission. From the business side, I say: I just want to go to dictatorships, I do not want to argue with environmentalists.’

Kasper, who has been president of the federation since 1998, and was a member of the IOC until last year, said his comments were the result of a ‘misunderstanding’ explaining how they, ‘were not meant to be taken literally but this was not clear in the final story’.

Isn’t that always the way? Likewise when he referred to ‘so-called’ climate change in the interview, he was just joking.

Referring to cold temperatures at last year’s Winter Olympics, he said: ‘We have snow, sometimes even a lot of it. I was in Pyeongchang for the Olympiad. We had -35C. Everybody who came up to me shivering I greeted with, ‘Welcome to global warming’.’

For most people a spot of dictator worship and climate change denial would be quite enough for one interview, thank you very much. But Kasper was now doing pirouettes on a black run, noting how immigrants were actually to blame for the decline of winter sports in Switzerland. ‘The second generation of immigrants has nothing to do with skiing’, he observed. ‘There are no ski camps anymore’.

It is not the first time Kasper has raised eyebrows among FIS members. In 2005, he demonstrated his peerless understanding of the female anatomy when he explained why he was opposed to women competing in the ski jump.

‘Don’t forget, it’s like jumping down from, let’s say, about two meters on the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view’.

Now what on earth could he mean?

(Source The Guardian)

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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