KNSB nominates Jan Dijkema as candidate for ISU presidency with inspiration and innovation as key words
The Royal Dutch Skating Federation (KNSB) puts Jan Dijkema forward as their candidate for presidency of the International Skating Union (ISU). The election will take place during the ISU Congress in June, in Dubrovnik. In Croatia, Italian Ottavio Cinquanta will pass on his ISU leadership after twenty-two years. If Dijkema is elected as Cinquanta’s successor, he will be the third Dutchman to become president of the ISU Council. Pim Mulier was the first ISU president, elected during the founding congress in 1892, in the Kürhaus in Scheveningen. He was president until 1895. Gerrit van Laer occupied the position between 1937 and 1945.
Dijkema was elected into the ISU Council in 1994, becoming the first Dutch representative in the supreme body in the sport since several years. In 2010, the Dutchman became vice president and portfolio holder for Speed Skating. The KNSB is convinced that Jan Dijkema is ready to succeed Cinquanta as president.
Three key pillars
With ‘inspiration and innovation’ as key words, Jan Dijkema, as president, wants to develop the sport of speed skating worldwide. “The ISU faces some big challenges, partly created by developments in society and sports. These challenges should be met adequately, with a fresh approach and innovative ideas. I will be glad to take up the responsibility to shape this necessary transition. It is central that current and future generations experience fun from figure skating and short- and long track speed skating. I hope to be able to inspire and innovate, building on the solid basis we already have”, Dijkema emphasizes.
He continues: “I see three important pillars: ‘promotion, marketing, & digitalization of the sport’, ‘development’, and ‘good governance’. Together with national federations, skaters, officials, and partners, I wish to make a joint effort in these areas.
Promotion, marketing & digitalization
With regards to promotion, marketing, & digitalization, Dijkema strives to involve the fans more and increase their experience. Structural fan engagement should be developed, including digital appliances that offer unique content (such as data from 3D animations in figure skating, and GPS in short track and long track). Additionally, Dijkema is aware that current formats and calendars need to be optimized, not holding back in trying new concepts such as a big event including several ISU disciplines. It is also of great importance to enhance the collaboration with media and commercial partners, and explore new revenue models through pilots, for instance regarding rights packages.
With regards to development, Dijkema believes the ISU should invest in customization for all nations, keeping in mind their needs in themes such as ‘youth’, ‘talent development’, and ‘education’. In addition, at least one skating academy (for all disciplines) should be realized on each continent. Moreover, it is of great importance that the multidisciplinary approach is stimulated, so that athletes from different disciplines, including inline skating, ice hockey, and gymnastics meet the ISU disciplines.
Dijkema wants for values such as transparency, integrity, and collaboration to be dominant during his presidency. In the Dutchman’s opinion, good governance, among other things, includes setting up an ISU athletes’ commission and ad-hoc work groups (e.g. regarding marketing) that can work out relevant issues as assigned by the Council. Members from all continents are welcome to participate and share expertise and submit inventive proposals.
The KNSB supports the mission Jan Dijkema has taken upon himself as candidate president. President Roel Dekker: “Jan Dijkema has years of experience, knows the international skating world like no other, and has a broad support base worldwide. Jan acknowledges that the ISU needs to take action to keep up with the rapidly changing world. He wants to make sure that skating continues to enthuse youngsters, fans, and sponsors in the future. He wants to take responsibility, together with others, including national federations, athletes, and partners. This corresponds to the KNSB’s vision of working together on the continuity of skating.”
The Dutch Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF), too, enthusiastically supports Jan Dijkema. President André Bolhuis: “It is important to NOC*NSF that the Netherlands is well represented in international federations. We know Jan Dijkema as an experienced and competent leader in this international environment. Moreover, the content of Dijkema’s program is strong, including constructive plans for taking up the sport’s challenges.”
Besides Jan Dijkema, the KNSB is putting forward two more candidates for the upcoming elections, for different posts of ISU bodies. Albert Hazelhoff is the KNSB’s candidate for the disciplinary committee of the ISU. This is the ISU’s judicial body which handles accusations of disciplinary or ethical violations. Reinier Oostheim has been part of the ISU’s Technical Commission for short track for years. The KNSB again nominates Oostheim for a new term as member of this commission.
Two other Dutchmen are currently members of ISU bodies: Jildou Gemser (Technical Committee speed skating, seat, appointed coach) and Harm Kuipers (seat, member of medical commission). The ISU Council appoints these positions; the KNSB cannot nominate candidates.
The ISU Congress will take place from 6-10 June in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The KNSB wants to actively contribute to the international development of skating. Increasing worldwide status and popularity of the sport are in the KSNB’s interests, stemming from interest in continuity. The KNSB depends on the international setting with regards to realizing their ambitions in top sports, fan experience, and commerce, and innovate in these areas. To reach these goals, the KNSB collaborates with representatives of several parties (athletes, specialists in disciplines, and international relations).The KNSB delegation consists of: Jenneke Bogerd, Theo Fledderus, Albert Hazelhoff, Cees Juffermans, Arie Koops, Wilf O’Reilly, and Jeroen Prins.