We hear from FIS Athletes’ Commission Chair Konstantin Schad about what the Commission does for its athletes.
A member of the German snowboarding team since 2004 and with two Olympic Winter Games appearances to his name, Konstantin Schad has enjoyed a long and successful career on the slopes. The 30-year-old hasn’t turned his back on competing just yet, but now he 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.
Describe your background and experience on the FIS Athletes’ Commission?
I’ve been on the 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 executive board.
What progress has been made since you joined the Commission?
There’s been a lot of good stuff that’s been done. It’s not only our duty 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.
Are there any achievements that the Commission has made that you’re particularly proud of – or successful case studies that you would highlight to other athletes’ commissions?
I haven’t been Chair for long, but 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 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.
What benefits can the consideration of the athletes’ voice bring to the FIS?
Important ones. It’s not like anyone in sports administration wants to create a product that is not athlete-minded, but that’s really the first-hand experience that we can bring. It’s important for us to be there and to offer that opportunity for them to see what we’re thinking, and also to stand up and say if we don’t like something.
What do you hope to achieve during your term as Chair?
I certainly would like to see the 17 members of the FIS Council include more than just one athlete, like the IOC does. I really believe that the athletes are at the heart of the sport, and this composition should change a little bit in that direction.
How can an increasingly connected global network of athletes’ commissions work together to present a united voice?
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.