A member of the German snowboarding team since 2004 and with three Olympic Winter Games appearances to his name, Konstantin Schad has enjoyed a long and successful career on the slopes. The 31-year-old hasn’t turned his back on competing just yet and combines his sporting career with representing athletes across the various disciplines of the International Ski Federation (FIS). Here, he explains how the Commission is aiming to strengthen the voice of its athletes.

  • FIS Athletes’ Commission Chair Konstantin Schad explains how the Commission is representing athletes across many disciplines.
  • It is vital that athletes’ commissions across the globe can work together and learn from each other, he says.
  • Find out how you can participate in this discussion at the 2019 International Athletes’ Forum.

I’ve been on the FIS Athletes’ Commission since 2013 and was elected Chair in 2017. The initial point of getting into it was that I wanted to be informed about all the different areas and stages of sports administration, so it made sense to step up and find out what they do on the FIS Council.

Since then, there’s been a lot of good work that’s been done. It’s our duty not only to talk about general things that work for athletes within the FIS but also to send our members onto the committees that are actually governing the disciplines. That is, we’re told, one of the biggest services that we can offer the committees because they say they love to have [athletes] around and get our opinion.

FIS Athletes’ Commission achievements

During my time as Chair, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about a mandatory online education course on anti-doping that we’re implementing for younger athletes. Within the FIS, you get a racing licence when you’re 15, and we think it’s really important to be educated about the anti-doping regulations. We’re not just thinking about people who deliberately cheat, but also people who might be unaware that they are cheating – and we want to prevent that from happening.

Taking the athlete’s voice into consideration is so important

The athlete’s voice

Taking the athlete’s voice into consideration is so important. It’s not like anyone in sports administration wants to create a product that is not athlete-minded, but we can really offer them that first-hand experience.

It’s important for us to be there and to offer them the opportunity to understand what we’re thinking, and also to stand up and say if we don’t like something.

I firmly believe that the athletes are at the heart of the sport, and last year we got a second athlete representative, Vice-Chair Hannah Kearney, onto the FIS Council alongside me. I think the composition of all athletes’ commissions should change a little bit in that direction.

A global network of athletes’ commissions

It’s so important that we work together. There are some topics that I would never hear about otherwise. It’s enlightening to hear how commissions from other International Federations or National Olympic Committees handle their business, and it’s essential for the work that I do in our Commission.

These topics will be discussed at the Athlete365 International Athletes’ Forum, which will take place from 13 to 15 April. 

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