Olympic Camel

A camel is just a horse designed by committee. The Olympics is a camel on steroids with the announcement that ‘breakdancing’ is to be on the Paris 2024 roster in the IOC’s eternal quest to appeal to the ‘yoof’ of today. I think of myself as a broad-minded individual and to be honest, I will probably watch the breakdancing out of curiosity, but does it hold true to the ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ mantra of the greatest show on earth? Hardly. The Games have been merely a spectacle for some time – I went to Athens in 2004 and realised there and then that the whole shebang is a made-for-television exercise. Does it appeal to the ‘yoof’ of today? I trialled it on my teenage son – he just laughed. He won’t be watching. Olympic breakdancing “is just embarrassing.” Oops IOC, oops…

Olympic sailing meanwhile is getting there despite having just been whalloped by a 20 athlete reduction but the Paris 2024 roster is heartening with its focus on inclusion. The number of mixed events in sailing is brilliant and I sincerely hope that the IOC gets over its concerns around the offshore double-handed event and fully embraces it. This is a major step forward. It’s different. Give it a go.

I like the look of Paris 2024 – or Marseille 2024 as we in yachting should call it – and whilst the traditionalists bemoan the demise of the Finn and the Star, let’s be honest, they are dinosaurs of a different era. Yes they have a place. Yes I would chop my right testicle off to sail a Star – it’s my lifelong sailing ambition to race one, just once – and yes they cater for those of a significant build and athleticism (fat boys basically) but they’ve had a good run in the Olympics and it’s over. They aren’t coming back. Sorry. Spectacle sailing has moved on.

The 470 is on life-support and I do still struggle as to why it’s there. Okay they’ve regenerated themselves and gone mixed – which is to be applauded – but they too belong in another era. The Laser has seen better days (and the class can’t stop shooting itself in the foot) and I would argue that the International Moth would be a more relevant one-person dinghy or something similar that foils with a one-design element. Whisper it quietly, but windsurfing is also a bit past its sell-by-date these days and let’s be honest, who is going to watch windsurfing over kite-foiling? Remember this is a spectacle and windsurfing races, unless on foils, are dull as ditchwater. Nacra 17’s anyone? Um….struggling with that one also.

So World Sailing has some wriggle room here when the 2028 Games comes around. For sure, sailing is going to be slimmed again and I would urge the myriad committees to really get thinking about what makes for a true spectacle that shows sailing in a modern, progressive light and look at what really works on TV and the internet. Cutting down the classes wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. And full inclusivity with completely mixed events would be a step-change in the profile of our sport.

We are so very nearly there. It’s now about tweaking around the edges and jettisoning the classes from a bygone age. Be bold World Sailing, be bold.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

£3.00
£9.00
£60.00
£3.00
£9.00
£60.00
£3.00
£9.00
£60.00

Or enter a custom amount

£

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

2 thoughts on “Olympic Camel

  1. The only realistic chance they had for originality and interest was the Double-handed Offshore class. With nearly a million people following the Virtual Vendee there would certainly be an audience and the chance to run a concurrent e-event, But guess what – the IOC have approved the nonsense stuff, kite-surfing and breakdancing – but rejected this. Although recommended by WS one has the feeling that it has nor been supported enough. The new President is Olympic dinghy oriented – not that he races himself. I have already posted angrily and depressed on FB about this. I see little reason for Offshore sailing to remain attached to WS. For many years the ORC ran happily independently. WS can stick to dinghies in the Olympics. They have got rid of everything with a keel already.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As an (ex-) Olympic Athlete, sailing a terrible class the Tempest (only an Olympic class twice and rightfully so) The average reader will judge me as being biased as I have sailed Star-boats for over 30 years and now retired into the Finn as a Legend (+70 years). First question is: Is double-handed ‘coastal’ sailing near Marseille for 3 days and two nights an Olympic sport? Look at weather patterns and general conditions. It wil most likely be boring as hell to watch.
    Second question: Is Olympic sailing to be reduced to a speed game only? Go and watch 49-ers or even worse Windsurfers. Even the best sailors amongst us will have many difficulties seeing, not least explaining what is going on. They go fast and point unbelievably low. In both classes: You have to tach 3x in a beat and you have lost the race!
    Int. Moths are very nice little boats; make the class Olympic and £/ft or € /m will be more than outrageous

    Here comes the biase: World Sailing as an advisory board to the IOC should advise the use of well established classes with well organized worldwide class organizations to back them up. With the exception of the 470 all classes are now single manufacturing organized classes and the National Organizing bodies or even worse athletes pay way more than they are getting.

    It is not necessary to comment on breakdancing as an Olympic “sport”. It isn’t a sport.

    Albert (Ab) S. Ekels

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: