But what could be a better place to demonstrate Fair Play in orienteering for the wider audience than a World Cup in Sweden on the IOF web-TV?
The highly knowledgable speakers could explain in detail how elite orienteering works, what runners may think and what they may need to do to deliver good results. Young athletes and runners from developing orienteering nations got the proper practical demonstration of Fair Play.
“those two working together can do really good orienteering”
“all he has to do is trying to lock eyes on the back of the Swede”
Anybody who worked on culture change projects knows that nothing works better than highly visible people demonstrating the expected norms while commentators reinforcing them. The IOF web-TV is a most helpful way to educate young athletes and new orienteering nations about the strong ethical value of Fair Play in our sport.
The only possible improvement that I could suggest is stressing that orienteering is a religion, and as in every religion, one should learn both the commandments and their applicability. It can get awkward if you do not know who are the ones who can pick and choose which commandment to keep and which one to break without consequences while being unhappy if others do not keep all of them.
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Anybody interested in broader context, may want to check the IOF web-TV of the Long competition:
1:10:35 to 1:11:20 – AB caught up with LR after 25 minutes: “those two working together can do really good orienteering”
3:31:30 to 3:33:25 – GB caught up with DH and developed a longer gap “DH is gonna’ really work hard now to try to stay on the back of GB” “at this point all DH has got to do is trying to lock eyes on the back of the Swede, trying to make that ground back whilst we have this good visibility“
Sport is full of psychological barriers. It is much easier to achieve something you know is achievable, than breaking new limits and conventional thinking. Bannister’s 4-minute mile and Fosbury’s flop are just some of the classic examples that new horizons can be opened up in sport and business by breaking the limits of conventional thinking. For some athletes a key psychological barrier in international orienteering is set by the word “independently” in Rule 1.2.
The IOF Council should consider the option of a rule change that both simplifies the Rules, improves Fair Play by removing a key psychological barrier, and opens up new horizons to orienteering as an inclusive new team sport with high spectator appeal.
This could be a highly impactful outcome of the follow-up discussions planned by the IOF Council after WOC 2021 Long. This archaic word not only prevented excellent athletes from achieving their full potential, but triggered bitter debates and harmful division within the ranks of the aficionados of our beloved sport.
The most likely root cause of all these debates is that the very concept of “independently” appears to be lost history.
The removal of the word “independently” from Rule 1.2 is unlikely to cause any change in practice of orienteering events, because it has long lost any practical relevance anyhow.
By the removal several goals could be achieved quickly and efficiently.
No more debate whether the WOC 2021 Long medals were awarded to the Team or Individual winners
No more fruitless discussions trying to define what independent navigation is
Overall improvement in Fair Play by removing self-restrictive practices
Simplified Rules, a pet project of the IOF President
Unleashed creativity for orienteering teams
New level of interaction with spectators as team members
Below I briefly outline two simple ideas, one for forest and one for urban events, that could be easily implemented to make orienteering a more spectator and media friendly sport after removing this paralyzing psychological barrier.
The important thing to realise is that there is nothing in these ideas that would be in conflict with current practice of the IOF. The barriers are only psychological even today.