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Gian-Franco Kasper will step down after eventful run as International Ski Federation president

2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships open in Tyrol, Austria

TYROL, AUSTRIA - FEBRUARY 20, 2019: FIS (International Ski Federation) President Gian-Franco Kasper speaks at a ceremony to open the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in the village of Seefeld in Tirol. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images)

Sergei Bobylev/TASS

International Ski Federation (FIS) President Gian-Franco Kasper announced on Saturday that he will step down from his office May 22 at the next International Ski Congress.

Kasper was named secretary general of the federation in 1975 and took over as president in 1998. In that time, the number of ski and snowboard events in world championship and Olympic competition has blossomed with the addition of cross-country sprints and several freestyle and snowboard events geared toward a younger audience.

He also made a series of controversial comments ranging from medical concerns for female ski jumpers to dismissive words on climate change. He apologized for his comments on climate change, and the FIS did eventually elevate women’s ski jumping to the World Cup and Olympic level.

Kasper competed in many sports, not just Alpine and Nordic skiing but also equestrian sports and sliding sports. He also has held leadership roles with the IOC, Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The next FIS president will be only the third since 1951, when Marc Hodler began his tenure.

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