SPLEENE Talk – Kitesurfing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris

The decision was finally made in mid-2018: Kitesurfing will become an Olympic sport at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. It has been a long road to get there, but it seems that the Olympic Association is increasingly focusing on sports that are also popular with young people. In addition to kitesurfing, surfing, BMX, baseball and karate have also been made Olympic in recent years. The efforts to make the Olympics attractive to a young target group will definitely benefit kitesurfing. If kitesurfing gets more attention, hopefully more sponsorship money will flow in this direction in the future.

Which kitesurfing discipline will be Olympic?

The kitesurfing discipline will be clearly defined at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The originally planned mixed double-handed offshore option has been scrapped and instead there will be separate kitesurfing rankings for men and women. The IOC decision supports the foil race format, with women (Formula Kite) and men (Formula Kite) competing in separate events. This makes Olympic participation possible for smaller nations that only send one rider to France.
Freestyle or Big Air disciplines are not planned for the 2024 Olympics.

Which kites and which kitefoil will be used at the Olympics?

The Formula Kite format will be used for the Olympic kitesurfing discipline at the 2024 Games in Paris. It comprises a defined kite class, namely Formula Kite. This set of rules defines the kites and kitefoils used to ensure a standardized competition platform. Athletes use Olympic-approved foil kites and hydrofoils that are optimized for speed and performance to compete in this exciting discipline at the Olympics.

In what conditions will the Olympic kitesurfing competitions be held?

Kitefoilen as an Olympic discipline has certainly been so well received due to the seemingly uncomplicated wind conditions. Olympic competitions are to be held in a wind range between 5 and 40 knots, with riders allowed to use approved kites ranging in size from 7sqm² to 25sqm².

Professional kitesurfers start with Olympic training

Many pro kitesurfers have long since started training for the Olympics. Many kitefoilers see this young discipline as a chance to win an Olympic medal. Even freestyle kitesurfers, for whom it was unthinkable until recently, have now switched to kitefoil. The chance of taking part in the Olympics is of course much greater in a niche sport such as kitefoiling than in popular and more widespread sports such as football or handball.

What is the kitefoil race format at the Olympics?

The sailing events of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will take place from July 28 to August 8, 2024. As part of the official kiteboarding format, the Formula Kite class, a total of 40 riders (20 men and 20 women) will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. The opening series for men and women will take place on August 4, 5, 6 and 7 from 5 am to 1 pm. The medal race for both genders is scheduled for August 7 from 5 am to 1 pm.

The riders will complete a course marked out with buoys, which includes sections where they have to ride against the wind (upwind), with the wind (downwind) and sideways to the wind (reach). The buoys serve as reference points and mark the distance the athletes have to cover. During the race, the riders skilfully switch between the different sections of the course, optimize their sail and kite positions and make tactical decisions in order to achieve the best possible speed and efficiency.

If you want to find out more about kitefoiling at the 2024 Olympics, take a regular look at the SPLEENE Talk
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25 January 2024



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