On the Record: Vladimir Lisin

(ATR) Vladimir Lisin was elected president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) late last year. He replaced the longest-serving world sportsman in his position, the Mexican Olegario Vázquez Raña, who had been in charge since 1980.

One of the issues that has not gone away with a change in leadership is the negative effect that mass shootings, most often in the USA, have on shooting sport.

Around the Rings
 caught up with Lisin to find out his thoughts on that and the state of the sport as Tokyo 2020 beckons.

Around the Rings - The rifle and pistol world cup is taking place in Brazil right now. How many athletes will qualify for Tokyo from this event? Is there anything different about this world cup compared to previous editions?

Vladimir Lisin - That's the last stage of the 2019 World Cup series where the Olympic Quota Places can be obtained. Two in each individual event. Sixteen all together. Eight among Men and eight among Women. The remaining Quota Places will be challenged at the continental Championships in 2019-2020.  

Taking in consideration that part of the leading athletes has won Quota Places already, the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro is a real chance for many athletes to get the desired pass to Tokyo 2020 now.  [There are] 541 athletes from 72 countries taking part in the World Cup! Isn't it another evident demonstration of the popularity of our sport and increased competition level in each event? 

ATR - Shooting has been part of the Olympics since 1896 and is one of the few sports that is found in both Winter and Summer Games. In addition to its role as part of Modern Pentathlon, it's a key part of biathlon. Recently there have been calls for the sport to be dropped from the Games in the aftermath of mass shootings in the US. If shooting were dropped, these sports also presumably would be dropped. That would wreak havoc on the Olympic program. How do you respond to this? 

VL - Misleading public opinion, whether intentionally or by mistake, is quite common. It has earlier taken place, too.

One of its methods is the use of a formal fallacy, the so-called straw man fallacy. It means diverting attention from the essence of the problem to something which is neither the source, nor the reason of what is going on.

The initiators of the calls you mention discuss mass tragedies and are usually quite logical in identifying their reasons.The reasons lie in the free and even unrestricted custody and use of multi-charged assault rifle and other military weapons. At the same, such opponents do not even try to show positive examples, in particular, of Olympic shooting, which embody the best practices of pacifist and safe use of weapons.Olympic shooting is a vivid example of the civilized handling of guns, mostly intended for young people.

The supposed motives of the opponents are clear.The calls for elimination or complete ban of something negative in society require continuous work, which is often hard and thankless. Such advocates are sure to understand that. They are also sure to understand that the modern society will not eliminate the true causes of what is going on for years to come, including the interest of a large percentage of people in weapons, and the use of violence for commercial purposes in various areas of society...

And it has absolutely nothing to do with either the Olympic Movement in general, or the shooting sports included in the Olympic program, in particular.

Perhaps it is just about the good old game – the witch-hunt.


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