Planet Interview with Valerie Leftwich:

New Roller Sports Vice Prez Talks About Her Goals

Leftwich Established Herself in Australia Before Moving Into International Arena

(Page 2 of 2)

The Leftwichs bought a small business and kept themselves busy by putting on various international competitions. They organized the World Artistic Championships in 1991, a speed skating Inline World Championships a few years later, and then a second artistic championship.

Also in 1991, Valerie was elected president of Roller Sports Australia. The post required Valerie to attend several international federation meetings each year.

Effective Australian President

Valerie proved an effective national president. On the homefront, she managed to find the funds to maintain a continuous Australian presence at FIRS world championships in all branches of roller sports.

On the international level, she developed a reputation as a capable, intelligent and honest leader.

When longtime FIRS president Isidro Oliveras resigned in November, several national delegations urged her to run to replace him.

But she declined, choosing instead to support the candidacy of Sabatino Aracu, the president of the Italian and European roller federations and a member of the Italian parliament.

She said she thought Aracu was in a better position "politically and geographically" to lead the federation toward Olympic inclusion.

First Vice-president

She did, however, accept the nomination as a candidate for first vice-president.

Ernesto Cajavarilla of Uruguay was also nominated for the post, and there was talk that he might pull an upset by polling heavily among Spanish-speaking delegates.

But when the votes were counted in Rome last month, Leftwich was the clear favorite, taking 90 of the 96 votes cast.

"My personal choice, even being a South American, is Valerie, " one South American roller official told the Planet. "She has lots of merits above Cajaravilla."

First Woman

Leftwich is the first woman to hold the No. 2 post in the federation.

As first vice-president, Leftwich's duties are to assist the president, substitute for him when necessary, and attend all federation congresses and meetings of the Central Committee.

She moves into the position at a crucial moment in the federation's history.

In July, the International Olympic Committee is scheduled to decide whether to change its roster of Olympic sports. Last year, it invited roller sports and four others (golf, rugby, squash and karate) to submit proposals for entry into Games.

"It is important as we stand on the threshold of being an Olympic sport, that we are seen to be doing everything we can to make this happen," Leftwich said in her letter accepting her nomination as first vice-president.

... Good luck, Valerie! We're behind you all the way!



Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson




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