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Magazine » July August 2012 Issue » Landmark Decision By the WDSF

Landmark Decision By the WDSF

Shawn Fisher
Date Published:
July 1, 2012

The WDSF had a restriction on athletes participating in non-WDSF events or recognized events. Could you explain that briefly?

Some restrictions regarding fair play, judging certifications, sportsmanlike conduct, and anti-doping regulations have been set in place. These regulations were required by the International Olympic Committee in order to move to the next step in the goal of DanceSport becoming an Olympic event.

The IOC required some revisions to the World DanceSport Federation statutes, so all the members voted to approve the process. A new code of ethics was developed along with a list of events as either being sanctioned or banned. In 2011 the issue became more personal as the first US athletes were suspended for dancing at a non-sanctioned event.

In response to this situation I tried to change the rule. I formed an alliance with other countries that were facing similar problems. These countries worked together to change the code of ethics and lobby support from other countries. These changes were then presented to the Presidium (governing counsel of the WDSF) at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

When the changes to the rule were presented, there were two and a half hours of discussion against it. Peter Maxwell from the England Association was instrumental in generating cooperation and creating a cohesive presentation. It was important to know who supported and who opposed the motion, so all the attendees were encouraged to give input even if their English was not very good. This created an atmosphere where people jumped in who were normally very quiet at the meetings. The tides turned after this.

The Presidium spoke with several countries and made an offer. They agreed to drop the suspension of dancers who compete at non-sanctioned events and reinstate those dancers who had already been suspended. They also agreed to work together in an effort to create regulations that would better protect the sport and the athletes. In response, the members present agreed to support WDSF events. Another result of the agreement was that parties who violate the established regulations must submit a request for reinstatement to the member body that includes an admission of guilt for what they did wrong.

During the AGM your name was put forward by Germany to be on the Presidium, and you were successfully elected to that body. What does this mean for the USA and yourself?

Summary by AD: There was an empty seat and the floor was open to nominate candidates to fill the position. Germany nominated Ken Richards and another member from France was nominated. Each nominee was given 5 minutes to make a presentation. Ken used his time to restate how he felt things should be handled in the organization. Ken was elected to the position by a vote of 78 to 55. The election is for a one-year term. Next year Ken will be able to run for re-election. This is a great opportunity for the US to be better represented and to really get a unique message heard.