Home / Orienteering News / Lundanes: – Looks like I am supporting the destruction of orienteering

Lundanes: – Looks like I am supporting the destruction of orienteering

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Olav Lundanes is not happy to be on the front page of  IOF’s latest update on the WOC in the future project – the Power Point presentation which was presented at the IOF Presidents Conference in France in August this year. On his Twitter-account Lundanes Tweets “Looks like I am supporting the destruction of orienteering”.

The background for Lundanes’s indignation is the suggestion for the WOC in the future program made by the IOF Council:

  • No more individual middle distance in the WOC in the future (instead prologue + chasing start)
  • Traditional relay replaced by mixed sprint relay if 4 medal disciplines in the future WOC – alternatively mixed sprint relay + traditional relay if 5 medal disciplines.
Basis for the proposed WOC program

The Council has suggested the WOC program for the future based on the input from the WOC in the future group (which suggested to keep both the middle distance and the traditional relay, but to introduce chasing start and mixed relay as additional disciplines) and based on input from the federations (a lot of different input from 14 federations pointing in many different directions – see summary of the opinions at the WOC in the future page).

The presentation can be downloaded here – or you can alternatively view screenshots of the presentation below. See also the WOC in the future webpage for more background information about the process and an article in O-zine 02-2011 about the project.

Gueorgiou: – I am really not optimistic for the future of orienteering

Thierry Gueorgiou has a similar reaction to the suggestions:

– To be honest, I am really not optimistic for the future of orienteering if IOF keeps going on that direction. Yes, I will feel extremy lucky to have experienced the good age of orienteering, but I will feel really sorry for the youngsters and I think it will be quite boring to become a coach also :(

Your opinion?

What is your opinion about the future WOC program? Please add a comment below.

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About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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59 comments

  1. My personal opinion (please challenge me on this one by adding a comment below – I might not have thought through all the consequences):

    • Don’t remove the individual middle distance and the traditional relay which are currently the two disciplines which work best for TV/spectators (ref. WOC 2010 and WOC 2011) to replace them by disciplines which are not fully tested (chasing start only tested in NORT on World Cup level with full TV production – but then with a reduced start field, mixed relay only in World Games).
    • Do instead like several of the federations (e.g. Canada) suggested in their feedback to the IOF but which was not taken into account: Split the WOC into a traditional WOC and a sprint WOC. If the traditional WOC and the sprint WOC is organized every second year, it is possible to (1) keep the individual middle distance and (2)  in addition introduce a chasing start while (3) still not increasing the number of medal events. Other benefits are that the sprint WOC could then (1) truly help to spread orienteering around the world as it would be easier to organize in smaller countries on other continents than Europe (in line with IOFs desire to put orienteering on the Olympic program some time in the future) and (2) that other sprint disciplines (e.g. KnockOut sprint) could be developed. Also the sprint relay would be a natural part of a sprint WOC.
    • The Swedish response to the WOC in the Future request from the IOF (from orientering.se) has already been posted at sites AttackPoint.org and orienterare.nu, but will post it here as well.
      http://www.orientering.se/ImageVaultFiles/id_12709/cf_628/LetterIOF%20WOC%20program%2020110410.PDF

      Note also that the discussion about alternating years for sprint and traditional WOCs has never been up for formal consideration and I doubt that very many federations have responded at all about this idea. In Sweden it has never been processed or discussed.

      There seems to ba a lot of negative sentiment here about the democratic process. First of all, I want to say that the community sites like worldofo, orienterare.nu, attackpoint, etc are read and views are considered. They are informally an important part of the democratic process as long as they stay on subject, but it is often not easy to get a single consensus through them. (For example, when you read back through this thread, there seems to a consensus that the new proposal from the IOF is not good, but then there are a number of diverging ideas about what to do about it. It is not very easy to summarize to a new proposal). Second, as Jan says above the decision is ultimately made by next years IOF Congress, and there each full-member federation has votes. So you need to be sure that the people casting those votes know your opinion.

      I will certainly continue reading all these forums and give feedback to the Swedish federation board.

  2. Nothing wrong with present format. If it ain’t broke don’t mess with it.

  3. Gueorgiou, Lundanes, … are athletics and know very well what is sport called Orienteering. IOF does not. IOF future team – out of this sport.
    As Gueorgiou, Lundanes, … say – they have been lucky. Next generation – not so lucky.

    In Finland was also 2011 middle distance chasing start. It was joke. Look gps http://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/20110827huliH/
    even visibility was poor in some section.

    If IOF like to arrange more sprints like this year WOC final, then we need own WOC for traditional orienteering. Nothing todo with sport like Orienteering.

  4. I agree with Jan Kobach! To keep todays WOC program and only arrange it every second year, and introduce a sprint WOC, with mass start and mix relay ++ in between. I think IOF should, like Hubmann says, consentrate on todays program which is possible to make good TV out of without changes. Changing the competition program totally after what we think might be interesting for TV might make it uninteresting for the competitiors and also for the spectators. This is already visible in cross country skiing, where the 50km mass start is boring until the 2 last km…a mass start that was introduced to make it better for TV production.

  5. Please, IOF. Keep today’s WOC programme. Do not experiment with formats where navigation skills matter less, such as mass starts or chasing starts. Listen to the athletes.

  6. As an athlete i feel no motivation to aim at a woc in those concepts… Where does the good old orienteering takes place in that?
    I thought the goals IOF sets should be in order to show the world what makes us (orienteering community, and orienteering as a sport of magnitude) different from other sports.
    If i wanted to target the front guy and run as hard as i can without thinking I would go to athletics.

    Do not understand this as saying that inovation and good ideas shouldn’t be put to use! But PLEASE smashing orienteering core into nothingless?
    Does IOF has that right?

    Why not adjust things so that both workout? Like Jan said i think would be the best “solution”

  7. If the IOF want change, they should not sacrifice any of todays events. The Middle and Relay are perhaps the most open and exciting events, but could potentially be removed, this is a disaster.

    Jan’s ideas are very good. When I heard the original 6 event proposal I wasn’t impressed with the new events, but the old ones where still there. But the new 4 event proposal with no middle or relay is really wrong and makes me angry that people can simply destroy WOC.

    Are there any international athletes out there who actually support a programme of just Sprint, Mixed Sprint Relay, Chase and Long? Or do people prefer the current events?

    I keep hearing that the IOF consulted national federations, and that “this is what people want”. I don’t know anyone who wants this.

  8. Earlier feedback was largely solicited under the proviso that a mass start (now chase) must be introduced…

  9. These changes are all to make it more spectator friendly… Come on, with the current level of TV coverage we get at WOC, what with GPS tracking and forest cameras, what are the current disciplines lacking in?
    I presume the long term goal of this is for a more global sport with possibility of Olympics. Never going to happen so please stop trying to do the impossible while ruining our sport in the process.

  10. Keep the WOC-program as it is now.

    I am worried about the path orienteering might take in the future. Degrading the importance of navigational skills makes orienteering boring, both for runners and spectators.

    I am not sure that the people who voted for mass-start/chasing start races realize how difficult it is to make a good TV-production out of it.

  11. What other sports have changed their format in order to get into the Olympics? Do we have soccer with bigger goals, 100m track with egg and spoon? No. Memo to IOF – leave orienteering alone!

  12. Well, if this new format ensures that WOC will be each year on Eurosport, than why not ? Traditional disciplines will be here forever since most orienteerers like them most, 8 days of untraditional orienteering for TV spectators is quite low price for potential development of our sport.

  13. If the traditional WOC and the sprint WOC is organized every second year, it is possible to have regional classic championships at every sprint WOC year and regional sprint championships in every classic WOC year. Like this there would still be one high profile sprint and classic event every year. And regional champs (here EOC) would get the higher profile it deserves.

  14. Remember: You are all members of the IOF. If you disagree with the developments, just figure out a way to influence your national federations role in this process.

  15. Apparently the norwegian federation thinks there is something wrong with alternate sprint and forest WOCs:

    http://www.orientering.no/SiteCollectionDocuments/Future%20woc%20program%20Norway%202011.pdf

    They are not very good at explaining what is wrong though. My personal interpretation is that they care more for keeping their friends at norwegian broadcasting companies happy than they do about the future of international orienteering.

  16. A chase start in middle-distance bring some excitement to find the winner. Although I do not agree, I can understand the argumentation for it. However, for most of the participating field it must be terribly boring, and there is a huge risk that many of those that qualify out of the top10 would not start but save energy for later competitions.

    I have yet to see any good argument for the mixed relay! Actually, of all the changes to the WOC format, the decision to go down from 4 to 3 legs in the relays has been a good one. The relays have been intense, exiting and surprising (partly due to the misfortunes of Thierry). The WOC relays have developed their own identity and is a competition that is defferent form any other relay for as well the spectators as the competitors. That one is ready to just ingore this success, is both sad and scary.

    • I am little bit older than young top runners.. In my best years 25-27 years ago it was WOC only in long distance and relays (4 members). I was quite good nationally and I have achieved also some good international results. But long distance was too long for me to be really on top of international level…
      So I have welcomed when middle distance was introduced although it was too late for me..
      There were also many disputes like now with this..
      Then private company Park World Tour started with sprints… It was great idea to bring orienteering to common people and media but IOF was against that…
      Later IOF realized that this was good format and introduced sprint to WOC…
      Do not be afraid about new things, new ideas…!
      If we keep traditional long distance and traditional relays on WOC, we are still there where was orienteering many years ago – in the forest, chasing for best navigational skills, very good running technique on wild terrain and excitement from adventure in wild nature…
      Why not to add something new for the people, for media, for sponsors?
      We all know Thierry but ask anybody from general sport journalists in your countries who is he..?! For many of them this name will be unknown… And I am not speaking about common people, who in many countries have no idea what is orienteering about…
      Don´t be so afraid…
      Try to find good signs of this proposal, which might look negative for some of you…
      If we keep long distance and traditional relays, we are still there where orienteering originally was and should be… The rest is “cherry on the top of the tart” for media, sponsors and common people…:-)

  17. Iof must look for new, nice and demanding forest arround the world. Now, they are developing a big bussines for them while forget orienteers motivation. We (elite or not) love run, no TV.

  18. Lars VJ - FarumTisvilde OK

    I’m really worried for the future of international orienteering. This suggestion should be a bad joke!

    I seems to be led by people for whom the only importing thing is to try to make the sport good for the TV-media and for the olympics. Never mind our fantastic sport is destroed in the process.

    The people who leads the IOF seems to have their own agenda and doesn’t really care about those who this is all about – the elite orienteers.

    I strongly suggest that the elite orienteers jointly approach the IOF and try to make them understand that this is the wrong direction for orienteering.

    And I also strongly suggest that everybody who loves this sport takes this issue up in their national federation and try to fight it

  19. My suggestion:

    Remove the qualifiers, keep the current finals, and let the national federations pick their athletes to represent the nations. Number of slots to each nation to be decided by World Ranking (while limiting the national quota to three athletes + reigning champion)

    Without the qualifiers there is room for two or three more events, such as sprint relay, mass start and even prologue with chasing start.

    I also sympathise with Jan’s view. Seems like a good suggestion as well.

    • World Ranking replacing qualification races? If you are from New Zealand, Australia, Nort America etc you need to fly several times to the other side of the globe to get reasonable amount of wre races done. And if the national ranking is based on nation’s top 20 runners, you would need to get 19 friends to do the same travelling. Athletes from Central Europe just need to drive/fly couple of hours. Is that fair?

  20. I agree we must make orienteering a better TV-sport, but here are some experiences after watching the TV-productions from the last two years WOCs:

    1. Sprint is the distance that is most unsuitable for TV. Experienced orienteers has problems to follow what is happening, and none-orienteers don’t understand a clue.
    2. Mass start or relays when courses are too easy, like the relay in Trondheim, is boring to watch. A big group is passing the camera in 20 seconds, and then there is 10 minutes to wait for the next camera. Nothing is happening.
    3. However, the relays in France this year were probably the best orienteering TV ever! Things can of course be better (e.g. gps-tracking on white “maps”), but challenging orienteering that split the runners, make them do mistakes and leads to frequent changes in the standing make the sport interesting.
    4. Middle and long distance with gps-tracking, where it is time to show and explain the tracking is actually interesting also for non-orienteers. Again it is important that the courses are challenging and ensuring that the runners take different route choices and make mistakes.

    So what are the take-aways from these experiences? Is it to introduce mixed sprint-relay and middle chasing start, and remove the traditional relay and the middle with individual start? Certainly not!

    Instead I think there is a better potential in further developing the existing events for TV. The technology development goes in the favour of orienteering. Soon we can have camera runners following the competitors in the forest streaming live pictures to TV.

    I see, however, the pull for an individual mass start competition, and with the removal of the qualification races I think there should be space for this. But this event cannot be held in a middle-like course. In a mass start event with a lot of short legs everybody will be running in a big group because the runners in the front will have to slow down into the controls. It will be boring for the runners, boring for the spectators and boring TV. Instead a mass start event must be long or ultra-long. Then the first part can have forking (i.e. three rounds of 2.5km), and then a long straight round with decisive route choices and difficult map reading.

    A WOC-programme could then be:
    1. Sprint (as today)
    2. Long distance (as today, but a little shorter)
    3. Rest day
    4. Middle (as today)
    5. Relay (as today)
    6. Rest day
    7. Ultra-long with mass start (men 120 minutes / women 100 minutes)

    If the pressure to have more sprint competitions is too high, even though sprint hasn’t worked well on TV, I would however support the solution Jan Kocbach is promoting with a sprint championship and a “forest” championship every second year.

    • Leif – why do you have to make orienteering a better tv sport? I simply don’t Get it! Is it to increase income or public interest or to increase recrutation? I agree with Eirik Moe, and orienteering will never be able to compete with e.g. track and field or tour de france. Furthermore I think orienteering has a particular challenge in making people not knowing the sport or perhaps even not beeing able to read a map understand what is going on, and in particular understanding the challenges as faced by the runners. So – why is tv-coverage so important? Those of us beeing kind of strange can take great pleasure in following live on GPS – as I did on the last leg of the NM relay last weekend. But 99 % of all the people I know find that rather nerdy, to say the least :-)

  21. Instead of changing the WOC program I think fixing the problem of not showing the map at the GPS track during the competitions is the best way of making it spectator and TV friendly. This is a practical solvable problem that could be fixed.

  22. Sprint relay – Yes, could be thrilling, whether mixed or not.

    Prologue and chasing start format for Middle – Middle distance is as said the most technical distance and great fun to follow as a spectator. *If* a new format is to be introduced, it should include and promote even more technical skill. This might include a very technical prologue (not to short) and a chasing start with plenty of route choices and a mixture of easier and tricky control points to promote the “smart” orienteerer. Suitable terrain may be hard to find at every WOC.

    Long distance, with ind. start (contra mass start) – The physical strenght of runners and the capability to find the right route choices is the key here. This would not be the case with a mass start! However, I don’t see why the mass start proposal was set up *against* the prologue-chasing start for the middle distance? I definitly think the long distance should be kept with individual start as proposed, but also think that we shuld try to find ways to make it more attractive to spectators. We also should continue to find ways to encourage the route choice skill and to prevent the “follow another runner skill”.

    Relay – Yes, great fun. Keep as is.

  23. Keep present WOC format! How can O-community protest against IOF’ changes?

  24. Since I was the one that picked up the discussion I should come with my opinion:

    For me the discussion about the new WOC-program and the direction of orienteering is not about “everything was better before”, “the long is the only real distance”, “we should keep everything as it has always been” or “everything new is dangerous”. A lot new things have made our sport a lot better like: GPS-tracking, lacerscanned and GPS-draw maps, SI- and Emit-punching and middle distances. I wasn’t pissed off by the closure of NOC, because it was the longest lasting championship. I was pissed off because it was one of the greatest races during the season. I am rather not fan of boring long legs on long distance, where you have to decide between the road to the left or to the right. Walking around in the sprintterrain the days before, and knowing it better than may hometown, is nor my favorite.

    For me the discussion is about challenges. I am running orienteering because I like the challenges the sports give me. Trying to taking the right decisions continuous in 1 ½ hour in the long distance, really challenging legs on the middle distance and constant living on the edge between speed and security, is some reason why I love orienteering. Of course the physical part of our sport is also important, but in my opinion it is not the most interesting.

    Many people say that the Knock-out sprints are very tactical. Is it really? Of course there is metal and tactical aspects included, but in a sprint on a flat straight street it is all don’t to the physical condition. And I think that already is a sport. Why did middle distance become popular (except that the lazy one of course loved it is shorter)? Because it increased the challenges on the technical level. And when did some people start liking sprint? When the “W/M under 10- course” where removed in favor of more challenging course.

    I am not a “Masstart-hater”. I have run a lot of great trainings with masstart that have been both fun and improved me as an orienteerer. But when we move moving the concept in to big events, it is always getting very boring to run. And I guess also to watch. The first problem is the arena and the terrain. If we could have organized WOC in a small depression in the middle of the terrain, as in trainings, I could be great. But when we need an arena that recently has organized a WC in cross-country skiing, it is not easy to make a good competition. The other problem is the forkings. If I should be possibel to follow the race you can’t have a lot of forkings. And the forkings have to be fair. The results in almost all masstarts nowadays is decided by who having the longest forking in the beginning, and can get away on the short forkings closer to the and. It is also very boring to run when you run almost the same leg many times, and punching the same controls 2, 3 and 4 times. That is not challenging. The last “problem” is that when we collect the best runners it is very much harder to split up the packs. “Runners choice” is maybe good splitting up 10 youth runners, but not 50 top orienteerers. I am not saying that it is impossible to make a great mass- or chasing-start, but there is nobody that has done it yet. And before that it has nothing to do one the WOC program.

    The mixed relay is for me the the most stupid proposal. First it is tested just once, whit a limited startfield, under very special conditions and with yesterdays course just in the opposite direction. It is very hard to understand way it should be a better concept than today’s relay. And again: you don’t put distance on the WOC-program before it is tested.

    In Norway almost every decision about the future of orienteering is based on what biathlon have done to become a big sport the last 20 years. I don’t know how many times I have heard that orienteering should be the “summer-biathlon”. What is now happening with the orienteering is as if biathlon had moved the shooting range 10 meters from the targets,and when one man hit his target, everyone else also get one hit. But what have actually biathlon done? They have increased the importance of the shootings, their characteristics. They have not moved the sport in the direction of being just cross-country-skiing. What are the new disciplines in orienteering doing? Removing more and more of our characteristics, and made the sport more and more like just running. I think running is a great sport, both 100 meter and marathon, and it is definitely interesting to watch on TV, but if that was my favorite sport I would have chosen it instead of orienteering.

    Of course those doing it great on special distances don’t want they removed from the program. It is something we have trained for a long time, and put a lot of effort and thousands of hours in, the oldest of us maybe 20 years. Imaging yourself as a top computer scientist for example, and have been working whit that for 20 years. I don’t think you would be very happy if you instead were moved to cleaning the floors instead. And I don’t think you would rather be the best floorscrubber.

    Eventually to all of you that think it is so easy to affect the IOF during our own federation (NOF), I can say that it is not easy. When the federations where asked to come whit inputs to the new WOC-program, the runners on the national team wrote a long letter to the federations about our opinions. I can say that it was almost the complete opposite of the letter the federation sent to the IOF, expect that no one’s wanted a mix-relay. Instead it was knock-out-sprint and long distance with 1 min start interval. But of course it was written that they had listened to the runners. For those how don’t know it: Don’t ever trust anything that are “sportspolitical”.

    Thank you for reading!

    • Thanks. You Olav said it – all formats – main contents should be challenges for The World Best Orienteers using some different formats. Planner make the exams for the best and gurus try to beat the planners. The Best Orienteers (physically, technically, mentally) should get the gold medals. It looks that athletes are the only professionals and amateurs on the IOF not understand what means “orienteering competition”.

      • “The qualification courses must be made in a way that ensures that all the runners on a lower level also get through.”

        So in analogy,

        Final courses must be made in a way that ensures that all the runners on a higer level also get excitement in the run-in.

        That our athletes have been saying also for the Qualification races for several years but nobody listen. They still have fixed idea that challenge to come to the finish is more appropriate challenge for us weaker runners than to have desent challenging courses.

        Thanks Olav!

    • Thanks Olav!

  25. Having not been heavily involved with orienteering during the most recent years I am wondering what the obsession about making orienteering suitable for TV is? I must say that I don’t get it, what is it about showing a sport on TV that will make it so much better? Is it so that we think that it will be more fun to run orienteering if there is more money in the sport? Are we not happy with the number of active orienteers today and we feel that the only (or best) way to increase the number of active runners is by being exposed on TV. Will more active runners at all costs make it a better and more fun sport?

    I know that this was a lot of questions, but I have a feeling that we are chasing a goal to be on TV without asking if that will really make the sport any better, or how it will make the sport better? I strongly doubt that TV exposure will make it a better sport.

    But whether or not TV will make it better. I still feel that orienteering has taken a turn to the worse in recent years were there seems to be the goal to make orienteering better for the ones who watch it (and let’s be honest, there aren’t that many of us) than for the ones competing.

    Why can’t someone start thinking how can we make orienteering better for the ones competing? Let’s make those aspect that we really love about the sport even better.

    Some of the things I love with this sport is:
    – Being able to arrange a competition in the middle of nowhere with all volunteer work.
    – The “stadium” can be an opening in the terrain.
    – People in all ages and shapes can participate and enjoy the sport.
    – Competitors from when you were young are still active 20 years later.
    – The whole family can be involved.
    – Not having to see journalists and cameras all around the stadium.
    – Being able to lay down the rules of how orienteering should be done in stead of being dictated of how orienteering is best done by (large) media corporations.
    – People are down to earth and extremely open and friendly.

    Just a few immediate thoughts after having briefly seen this discussion today.

  26. Orienteering in a nut-shell (in Norwegian, sorry):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyGr8QhZA30

    Or as a World Champion in the Long Distance once said:
    “Orienteering is like sex – it is much more fun to participate than to watch”
    (yeh, it made the newspaper headlines)

  27. Well, guys, as I see most of the people at least here have some complains about that IOF decision. But what can we do really?

    My experience says that many people can do bla-bla-bla but almost always nothing else. And that is why they are ruled by a small group of insidious people who do it on their own account. And now it clearly happening in the orienteering.

    Olav says that it is not that easy even to influence NOF. I’m Russian and know that it is practically impossible to do anything with ROF. I suspect it is more or less the same everywhere.

    I’ve never seen ROF president in forest with a map; as I’ve heard we can hardly see mr. Åke Jacobson & Co there as well. So, I do not consider them as orienteers really. I believe that now it is time to show that our orienteering really belongs to all of us — the orienteers.

    So, what can we do? As a suggestion I propose a well known democratic mechanism — a referendum. Lets ask O-people what do they want. And then give Thierry a right to present the results to IOF council. And we will see if O-world is democratic or not.

    • The IOF is not very much like a democracy at the moment. You say that it asks the federations but they are not very democratic either.

      Two issues: The IOF needs to ask the people of orienteering. The ones with it’s BEST interests at heart (mainly athletes). Also in my mind the IOF should be composed of members of all federations, athletes and lay people. This would create such a better view of the global opinion, which has clearly been missed. We don’t want athletes to lose inspiration (raised by Lundanes/Jurenikova) or ruin it for juniors (raised by Guergiou)

      I don’t like orienteering being run by a group of people who just want to make more money. Best interests are not at heart.

  28. A referendum needs to reach a quorum and it isn’t easy. But in our case first it must be decided who has the right to vote and this is an even more difficult task…

    I’ve heard about some petition signed by top orienteers. Does it exist? If yes, why don’t to cut in as many active orienteers as it’s possible?

    Also common orienteers should partecipate and not only as spectators. What kind of sport will be if world champs events are something completely different from every weekend events? I’m afraid that also little events will move in that direction and I’m pretty sure that many people don’t like that much to run sprint distances and mass start. Sprints are nice but they are already a very particular kind of orienteering and I wouldn’t go further in this direction.

    Then my simple suggestion is an internet petition where O-people can sign. It would be interesting to order the list of signatures on the base of some ranking criteria as for example world ranking. With the best orienteers of each nation as promoter it should be easy to reach a great amount of signatures.

    • It is a good question who should be able to vote. I can suggest the following: the paticipants of national championships HD21 and HD20. Since it is they who will aim to and run those world champs. One might say it is difficult. I say, it is possible. In big countries like Sweden it can be relatively simply done via Eventor like system. In less developed countries it should be one initiative guy to ask and collect data. I can do it for Russia. Eva, are you ready to do it for Czech?

      There is some work here, but if somebody destroyes a thing I like a lot — I’m ready to spend time to prevent it. I beleive I’m not alone. If we ask those people nobody would be able to say it is not the quorum. And nobody would say these are the random people who do not understand anything.

      Well, it is just a suggestion. But we definitely need to do something with it, not just to seat and chat!

      • I feel the discussion has run a bit away from the point here. The IOF (via Council / General Assembly / President’s conference) will make the decision here. Remember also that the IOF represents the federations. The way to influence the decisions is via your federation or directly via Council members or those who participate at the President’s conference.

        In my opinion the important point with discussions on this blog in this regard is to objectively discuss the pros and cons of different programs/options – and to understand the opinions of different people/runners/media/federations. Then when you understand all(?)/many(?) aspects of the decisions to be made, people should talk to/put pressure on their federation. If a federation receives 100 emails from different individuals with similar requests, that would surely get them to think about it at least…

        • Not in Russia. ROF definitely does not care about opinions of runners. I do not know about others and Russia is probably one of the worst in this sence. But if Olav complains about NOF, I can imagine that it is sothething similar in many countries.

          • … still I don’t think there is any other way around it than influencing the decision makers…

          • I think we have moved on from the pros and cons. It is very clear from the messages above that there are more cons than pros.

            One federation receiving a few emails won’t change anything. There is no incentive for them to. But hopefully this discussion, speaking directly to the decision makers on the largest orienteering website in the world, will attract attention. If not, the IOF have no credibility in my mind.
            There is a bigger problem within orienteering and I suggest you with the bigger influences try to influence the decision makers.

          • Guys, it is not absolutely clear even for me that most of the orienteering world is against removing individual middle and gender relays from WOC program. Just a couple of hundreds watched this page, really. So a bla-bla-bla here does not give any evidence what is the opinion of the O-community. And any in the IOF council can say that he is on the majority side, even he is not. So, it is important to see for the community itself, what do we really want. And if we have that result public — it is an argument. They cannot just ignore it, as they can ignore some hundred e-mails.

          • @hatifnatter
            Emotions are one thing and facts are the other things. I like to take my decisions on facts. You said that “ROF definitely does not care about opinions of runners.” Could you post RUS federation WOC proposal and elite athletes opinion so everyone could make a personal conclusion like it was in case of NOR.

            In my country nobody do nothing. Not athletes, not federation. They hardly have an opinion about any issues regarding IOF but in general nobody is interested even to read what it is going on or to inform others what kind of information they get from IOF. So I act on my own because I spent some time in the past to develop orienteering and I would like to see some progress. You just can’t influence on somebody who don’t understand elite orienteering and don’t see the need for action, discussion,…. You need just too much time for convincing without expecting to get a desent understanding and result. I just don’t want to be that kind of person who just wait and saying that it is no point to make any action as it is to high IOF policy. People are very selfish and rational about what is possible to do and what they can get for themselve rather what they should do for the community.

            I put up what it is only my opinion as a hobby orienteer because I think like you, that public opinion is one of the democratic ways to express one person opinion if formal ways are closed. I wrote what is my reason that I use public forum for my opinions. Take you time and collect facts and present it.

            If federations are happy with the leadership than public opinion is like the last year snow. But if they are not happy then federations will probably make a plan how to ellect new leadership.

            I think that IOF need fresh blood and fresh ideas. It is evident that people at IOF might work very good in the past but it is time to say that their era is over. In many issues IOF is so rigid and most of them are quiet because they want to be polite and to act to their status in organization appropriate. Bad or almost no communication from president and with only a half good information with not any important details about major decisions are first sign that they don’t want to be open as much as o community want.

            I want to see on the head of IOF person who have time, have ideas and is able to speak with federation, individuals, ecperts and o community through different channels. But that is politics. For little money, little music.

  29. Knut Wiig Mathisen

    As 52-year old former elite orienteerer still competing annually in Jukola and Norwegian relay champs I have with interest and sorrow followed the discussion on the future WOC programme. Earlier this year Daniel Hubmann and several others supported the initiative to have sprint-WOC and forest-WOC on alternating years, with Regional (E.g., European)championships in similar formats in between. This proposal was dismissed by national federations and IOF, but I never saw one single argument why. It should be clear that the best runners must be able to compete in all competitions, otherwise we lose interest and status. For me this proposal looks like a very attractive compromise. I do think that orienteering competitions with a combination of individual orienteering and shoulder-to-shoulder fights is interesting both for orienteering athletes, orienteering spectators and the few other possible spectator categories. Amongst Norwegian orienteerers the only events with an increasing number of entrees in recent years have been Jukola and Blodslitet. A forest middle distance chase start based on a middle individual start medal distance could work well from most WOC forest arenas. Furthermore, I think ultralong mass start in the Blodslitet format as outlined by Leif Størmer and others also could work very well. Thus the below programme could be agood alternative to todays programme, perhaps some leading nations like (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland should be instructed/requested to test it out in National championships a few years first. E.g., with the forest format in autumn and the sprint format in spring?

    A forest WOC (and regional championships, eg, EOC) with programme
    Day 1 (Saturday): Middle individual start. Medal event
    Day 2: Middle chase start. Medal event
    Day 3: Rest
    Day 4: Long individual start. Medal event
    Day 5: Rest
    Day 6: Rest
    Day 7: Relay. Medal event
    Day 8: Ultralong mass start. Medal event

    A sprint WOC (and regional championships, eg, EOC) with programme
    Day 1 (morning): Sprint part one. Individual start based on seeding
    Day 1 (afternoon): Sprint part two. Individual start with 30 best in opposite order from morning results. Combined time decides the result order
    Day 2: Rest
    Day 3: Sprint relay. Medal event

  30. i really like orienteering as it is. maybe it is better for orienteering to be a fringe sport. no tv, no sponsors, no stupid ideas. just me, my friends and the nature.

    • Orienteering is TV sport in Finland. About 30 TV events seen here since 2004. Forest middles, city sprints, forest sprints, amusement park sprints, relays, chase starts and mass start. It has been pretty clear for some time what type of format works for TV and what doesn’t. All sprints has been bad, everything happens too fast, no-one has a clue what is going on, GPS doesn’t work for buildings and accuracy needed for the 1:5000 map scale. Confusig or boring or both, every time. Mass starts and chases are bad, too much waiting time, because you can’t cover the whole course with cameras and tracking is usually just a messy meaningless cloud of dots, and no that much cool mistakes for following. Relays are better for forking an bigger time differences / chase situations, but still bit too much empty waiting time and show is long for TV. Long is quite ok but too long for live or for a typical TV slot, difficult to sell. Middles are best, not too many cameras needed, works well especially if setup is done the right way. Both orienteers and non-orinteers seem agree with this forest middles over sprint thing. As I see it, the proposal might not destroy orienteering but I it sure would make WOC’s near future as a TV event difficult. Why do we have to remove the two most TV friendly formats and add two bad ones?

  31. Well written Olav.

    The IOF need WOC every year because it is their main income source. Getting them to admit that is rather more difficult.

  32. Thank You Liberec !
    http://www.owcliberec2011.cz/index.php?menu=middle

    You showed example how to make nice TV-broadcast even it was in the middle of the nice forest, start interval was 2 mins – classical real orienteering. You showed what is the main environment of yhe orienteering.

    You have understood that about 10-15 min between TV-controls give the best possibilities to follow some period on the controls, no hurry, but no empty sections. Tempo was easy to follow, no online gps – gps was always short replay to show something interesting: time lost, route choices, … TV-section on the terrain was super.

    Thank you.

    I hope that also IOF council followed this broadcast and got proves that we have possibilities to show our sport without to be fools.

    • I totally agree, it was one of the best orienteering TV-broadcast I have seen so far.
      I actually liked better the middle distance broadcast than the chasing start one. At the chasing start, showing the Gps routes was messy. Having to explain all the time how “butterflies” work took way too much time, and those who watched the broadcast needed to make quite some efforts to identify who was in the lead.
      The middle distance had much better flow. It is cool to get to see comparisons of route choices and mistakes. At a mass start, the orienteering (navigation) part is much less exciting both for the runner and for the one who watches it on TV.

      I would also like to support the current WOC programme. It is best as it is!

      If the argument for change is that the new programme would be more TV-friendly, I don’t get it. To me the middle distance seems to be the most TV-friendly distance. As Jagge pointed above, at sprints everything is happening a bit too fast and broadcasts have often been messy, mass starts are messy too. I think that TV coverages from the traditional disciplines actually have the best chance to succeed.

  33. As an active, being or having not been an elite or top orienteer, I think Mik hits the point when writing WOC shall be the championships and the flagship of what orienteering people do in their weekly competitions and what is the basic nature of orienteering i.e. individual navigation by one’s own skills. So the chase start not even to mention mass start shouldn’t have any place in WOC. Chase start is ok and interesting in some special cases like the final stage of O-ringen to solve and celebrate the total winners of the week. TV coverage and even less Olympic status must not dictate everything. Do not sacrifice the basic characteristics of orienteering for those.
    Sprint and traditional orienteering being almost totally different species so it would be a good idea to organize separate championships in alternate years.

    • Can someone explain this good idea about “to organize separate championships in alternate years” in all details. I don’t see the overall benefits (media, TV, sponsors, etc) and that is why I am strongly agree with the Norway explanation under point 8. http://www.orientering.no/SiteCollectionDocuments/Future%20woc%20program%20Norway%202011.pdf

      Like other sports we must first build one strong product and sell it before we aim to produce two products.

      Can someone say how big the IOF marketing and PR budget is? I think that one of our problems is that people who run orienteering are mainly technical people and just can’t sell the sport. They just don’t have the connections and proper skills. They also can’t cooperate with the people who have better marketing and selling skills than they had. Because they can’t do the progress they try to constantly change the product. It is the only thing that they can do. So we should talk more about what is unique in orienteering, what is worth to expose, what we must do better, do differently or try to develop, find new marketing and media ideas how to promote our sport so that our sport as we like it will have better look. But instead of that we like to talk about maps and technical specification hours and hours……. If you look how much effort IOF really put to run international media desk, try to sell TV rights, get sponsors it is really big shame that they talk so much about new WOC and possibilities to get more media interest and TV exposure.