by Emma Slater
RYA Sail for Gold Heritage Exhibition is calling for photos and memorabilia from Olympic and Paralympic Games of the past.
Did you know that sailing is one of the oldest sports on the Olympic programme? It was first contested at the Paris 1900 Olympic Games, with racing split between the River Seine and Le Havre.
Today, British sailors are a force to be reckoned with in the Olympic sailing classes. At the last Olympics held in Beijing in 2008 the team clinched an impressive seven medals; four gold, two silver and one bronze.
With the 2012 Games just around the corner the RYA, as part of its ‘Sail for Gold’ programme, is putting together an exciting exhibition of photos and memorabilia to celebrate our great Olympic and Paralympic heritage.
'So far we have secured some fabulous memorabilia for the exhibition from past Olympic sailors Rodney Pattisson, Keith Musto and Vernon Stratton. David Bond who won Gold in the Swallow class at the 1948 Games has also generously loaned us a fantastic scrap book of photos, invitations and letters of thanks.
'We would love to see what other people and sailing clubs across the country might have tucked away and would be kind enough to share with us for the exhibition, whether they were a competitor, spectator or volunteer', explained Celia Edgington, Sail for Gold Co-ordinator.
'We already have a number of items to include in the exhibition from the 1980’s up to the present day so we would really welcome photos and memorabilia from pre 1980. Perhaps you have old photos, programmes or press cuttings, or maybe autograph books or ticket stubs to the sailing events. If so we would love to hear from you.'
The Heritage Exhibition will be touring the UK from January 2012 and will be in Weymouth during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A full list of tour dates will be issued in due course.
If you do have any photos or memorabilia from previous Games that you would be happy to share and include in the exhibition next year then please contact Celia on 02380 604 107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know?
• Early on the sailing was dominated by bigger boats, sometimes with a crew of 10-12 sailors. From the 1950’s onwards the trend has been towards smaller one-design boats. Today’s boats reflect the latest developments in the sport.
• The first woman to win an Olympic Sailing medal was Frances Rivett-Cama from Great Britain, who won gold in London 1908.
• Great Britain was the most successful Sailing nation at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Games.
• Women have always been allowed to take part in Olympic sailing competition, but events specifically for women were only introduced at the Seoul Games in 1988.
• The sports name was changed from ‘Yachting’ to ‘Sailing’ at the Sydney 2000 Games.
• Windsurfing was introduced as a sailing event at the Los Angeles 1984 Games. Women competed on equal terms against the men until their own discipline was introduced in 1988.
• Sailing first appeared at the Paralympics as a demonstration sport at the 1996 Atlanta Games. In 2000 it was included in the Paralympic Games Competition programme as a medal sport with events for the Sonar (three person keelboat) and the 2.4mR (single-person keelboat).