WRF Interview of the Month
Ivo Ferriani is an IOC Executive Board Member since 2018, sport director, former professional bobsledder (and former river guide).
He is the President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) since 2010, IOC Member since 2016 and President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) since 2020.
At the beginning of his sporting career he practiced football, athletics, kayak and rafting, before pursuing his professional career as bobsledder: in 1988 he competed at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, as two-man bob pilot.
We interviewed Mr. Ferriani on the basis of Good Governance and he expressed his opinion on the current worldwide situation.
President Ferriani, what is your definition of Good Governance?
First of all we should not talk about Good Governance but Governance itself. “Good” is one of the properties of Governance, probably the only underlying principle, the adjective that characterise all of its aspects, if they are properly applied.
Many people think about Governance as a goal, that is the reason why it is often combined with “Good”.
Governance is not an objective to be achieved, but a continuous process and a way of acting.
It implies awareness and respect, of oneself and the others: (Good) Governances begins with self-governance. Taking care of ourself improves our consciousness and leads us to imagine a different world, seeing the potential of the one we where we live now.
Everyday there is an opportunity for everyone to be seized, from the athletes to the Presidents. We always have the chance to imagine a better version of ourself, but if we want to realise it we need to figure out the real potential and channel our energies.
In a global dimension like the federations entities, we should not waste the world force, but take advantage of the different viewpoints, building projects with sustainability and transparency.
(Good) Governance is a matter of courage and patience: it means shaping and protecting our own evolution. This process requires self-imposed rules and in a community these rules have to be common and shared, in order to be respected by all means.
Finally, the (Good) Governance is about quality rather than quantity and the age should not be considered directly proportional to (good) experience: the potential of young people is not a future opportunity, but a current chance. Therefore, despite the top-down direction of Governance, the core of a sport movement are the athletes.
What is the rule of the athletes concerning (Good) Governance? What is the general lesson from the sports practice?
Athletes, as I said, are the core of every association, federation and sports organisation: no athletes mean no Presidents. They are the sport. They have to be aware of the organisations’ movement, considered and included in the decision-making not as receivers but the starting point.
Sport teaches us to compete with ourself, to compete with others and to accept the outcome. It improves our awareness, so self-care becomes an input. Team sports are an easier example of how the governing bodies should act: “I” switches to “we”.
If I regulate myself and respect the others then the system works, like the Covid-19 masks: it is a vicious circle.
So, what is the lesson from the pandemic?
Covid-19 stopped everything. If we thought and think about it, it brought us a greater awareness and taught us not to take moment for granted. It is a problem, but like any other problem should be considered a chance to reflect: we must accept the moment and appreciate its opportunities.
We need to adapt: moving forward is always positive, but now is strictly necessary. If we consider this period as a challenge, there will be an outcome and it will be positive. Covid-19 reminds us that we need to be chameleons, not dinosaurs, bearing in mind flexibility and resilience: two principles that every athlete with passion knows very well.
Therefore, we should stop to think but not think to stop. Once the stop is passed we will re-start: will the new beginning be slow or fast?
It will be fast: people need to feed the soul as well as the body.
New objectives will be established and the hope will be able develop. We are all missing sports moments, now more than ever, because sport represents expression and aggregation, that through the body free the mind.
The sport flame will reignite and I will do my best to contribute, so remember that the flame is not extinguished: it is just ember, waiting to burn again.
We warmly thank Mr. Ferriani for the approachability he has shown and the support he is giving to our community since the beginning.
Finally, paraphrasing the President’s words, we leave you with a question, that is not “Why is this happening to us?” but rather “What is this teaching us?”.