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Editorial- A split reception

by . on 4 Sep 2008

Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter covering the 2008 Olympic Regatta and 2008 Paralympic Regatta

This is the first of the post-Olympic newsletters and will also cover the 2008 Paralympic Regatta.

For the Olympic sailors who have returned home from Qingdao, the medalists are being feted by their peers, yacht clubs, federations, councils and even Oprah Winfrey. Those who didn't win medals are certainly welcomed home by their family and friends, but it is a time for quite reflection and decisions as to whether they "go again?"

For many 2012 seems a long way off, but the reality is that the next Olympic cycle really kicks off with the 2009 World Championships, and if you are going to change classes, then now is the time to do that - the next class worlds and funding rounds are just six to eight months away.

In New Zealand, Carl Evans and Peter Purling, the youngest crew to ever compete in a Sailing Olympics have announced their split, due to the fact that they were physically too heavy to continue to to compete in the 470 class at the ripe old age of 17 and 18 years - and four years hence that issue will only have become exacerbated.

We have their story and next moves in this issue.

For the multihull sailors, the reality of being excluded from the 2012 Olympics is hitting home - as funding decisions are made.

Looking back over the 12500 images I shot in Qingdao, it is apparent which are the most media friendly classes in Qingdao - the Tornado and 49er. The rest are saved by virtue of the national graphics their sails, which make the yachts look like a group of butterflies descending on a mark.


In this issue, Rob Kothe looks at the media friendliness of the Olympics - clearly a long hard look needs to be taken by IOC and ISAF with people who are active in the media being involved and heard. Let there be no doubt, the coverage that was provided from the 2008 Olympics was done under very difficult circumstances - and quite different from those which prevail for a professional sailing event such as an America's Cup or Volvo Ocean Race.

On Sunday, the 2008 Paralympics get underway in Qingdao.

Three classes will be sailed - the 2.4Mtr singlehanded keelboat, the two handed Skud, and the three person Sonar. Entries in each total 14,11 and 14 respectively for a total of 78 sailors.

While there is the inevitable focus on results and medals, as with any Olympic competition, for each of these 78 sailors there is a story of personal tragedy and triumph that only able bodied sailors can imagine.


Lynn Fitzpatrick is on-site in Qingdao for the Paralympics, reporting for the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee, and has filed one story about the challenges faced by one competitor, Nick Scandone sailing in the Skud 18 class.

It is a must read, and when you multiply Nick’s story by 78 you realise that the Paralympics is a different sort of Olympic regatta.

Maybe the Paralympians should all get a medal before the Games and then go sailing. They've certainly earned it.


Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor

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