Blame it on the leap year...
We explain to you the reasons behind the cancellation of the F.I.S. Rollerski World Championships 2004.

The naked truth regarding the international Rollerski situation needs to be treated with a good deal of irony.
The current state of affairs comes as no surprise - given the personalities who govern the fate of a sport which is as unlucky as it is spectacular and for which 2004 was hoped to mark the year of the final turnaround.

The big occasion was provided by the availability of the German federation to host the F.I.S. Rollerski World Championships 2004 in the town of St. Wendel, already stage for the world mountain bike championships along with several other international competitions in different sports. The World Cup was to be held on a splendid course: an authentic racetrack designed on a strip of asphalt with continuous ups and downs, breathtaking downhill sections and taxing sprints for a total of more than five kilometers. It was to have been a demonstration of power and technique to entertain athletes and spectators alike - until two German websites released the sensational news of the cancellation of the event.

So far there has been no official notification from the F.I.S. Rollerski subcommittee chaired by Brouwer, merely a reference by the young Dutchman to " shocking treatment" on the part of the German organizing committee, immediately denied by the vice mayor of the charming German town.

The official explanation is given instead in the official proposal of the "Non German part of the jury of the 3rd F.I.S. World Rollerski Championships" forwarded to the Cross Country Ski Commission at the Miami ( USA ) congress early June 2004.

The contents are as follows:

  1. the budget is ten times less than the two preceding world championships;
  2. the township of St. Wendel has never organized a F.I.S. rollerski event:
  3. the jury has never had the chance to look over the courses or the organization;
  4. only two months and three weeks remain before the start of the event;
  5. the organization of previous rollerski races in Germany has been poor ( see, for example,

the report on the events in 1997 and 2002 in Geyer / Zwonitz ).

The signatures at the foot of the document are those of George Brouwer ( Senior ), Gianluca Codemo and Gijsbregt Brouwer ( Junior ). The complete text is available in the original English and translated into Italian language.

The groundless reasons cited for the requested postponement ( and subsequent cancellation ) of the world championships raise a smile. Here’s why:

  1. last year the town of St. Wendel hosted the pre- world championship races ( as reported in the official international rollerski website, and as stated in all the official F.I.S. communiqués from last year, see pre-world cup, Deutschland-Cup Rollski, St. Wendel 2003, Deutschland-Cup Rollski 2002, St. Wendeler Wendelinus-Cup ( 14 / 15-09-2002 ), TD-clinic St. Wendel;
  2. St. Wendel was awarded the world cup two years ago ( the news was already official at the world cup in Cervinia in 2002 );
  3. during the meeting of the F.I.S. subcommittee at the beginning of May 2004, Gijsbregt himself, along with representatives from eight countries, checked over the courses which had already been put to the test during the pre-world cup races in August 2003;
  4. two months and three weeks was an ample time-span to complete the details of an organization which had already been started off months before;
  5. it remains absolutely incomprehensible that a report could exist on the organizational result obtained in 1997 by a locality different from St. Wendel on the occasion of a World Cup event.

Moreover, the plot thickens when you consider that it is the Brouwers who for over two years have been proposing the candidature of St. Wendel.

What happened in the meantime is not clear, or can only be imagined bearing in mind the signatories of the letter to the F.I.S. subcommittee, who have been careful not to inform anyone as to the situation of their own creating at St. Wendel so as to be able to present their requests at the Miami F.I.S. congress, informing all and sundry when everything had already been decided.

The phrase which continues to baffle us is the following: "our proposal has been made with only two interests in mind: the rollerski atletes and the sport of rollerski in general. We believe that a poor edition of the world championships would damage athletes, the sport of rollerski and the F.I.S., even though we deeply regret the present situation".

Gijsbregt Brouwer has been careful not to ask an opinion from the very people he claimed to safeguard, that is to say the national teams and the athletes themselves; on the other hand it is well known that keeping the subjects in ignorance is the oldest form of social control.

On their part, the "subjects" have lost two years of preparation, a global advertisement on Eurosport, sponsorship, promotion and articles in related magazines throughout Europe.

What can we say in reply to someone who asks us for explanations in the absence of official answers? We reply that unfortunately this is a leap year, there’s no snow, the drought hasn’t allowed us to work the cannons, a strange seismic quake has reduced the radius of the downhill bends rendering the course dangerous…In other words, it was destiny, the same destiny that unfortunately arranged for the "Non German jury" to have nothing better to think about than our splendid sport.

Just recently, to round off the disaster, the acting president of the F.I.S. Rollerski Subcommittee was informed via a news article on our site of the cancellation of the World Cup trial in Poland, an announcement confirmed by Brouwer himself a week later. And so the events in Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland will share the same fate as the 2004 World Championships.

Meanwhile the jury which monopolises every international Rollerski competition ( Gijsbrejt Brouwer and Gianluca Codemo ), and which by the purest coincidence happens to be the very same jury which found itself on a collision course with the St. Wendel organising committee, announces with pride that everything is ready for the first leg of the World Cup in Zagabria: courses tested to perfection and every organisational detail according to regulations, "and not like it would have been at the cancelled world championships!"

But the happenings at Zagabria will be the subject of our second instalment, the chronicle of certain death for international Rollerski.

The Editorial Office of


Aggiornato il 23-06-04.