Please select your home edition
Edition
Kilwell - 1

London 2012 Olympics - Two men in a boat bridge South Africa race gap

by Jon Herskovitz, Reuters on 20 Jun 2012
RaceAhead 470 Team Training, Weymouth UK 2011 - London 2012 Olympic Games © RaceAhead
One is white and the offspring of a South African yachting great. The other is black and hails from a shantytown set up by the defunct apartheid regime as a ghetto.

Together, Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim are the South African entry for the two-man 470 sailing event at the London Olympics. They see themselves as symbols of the multi-racial country former President Nelson Mandela was trying to forge.

'We are going to be a light in South Africa - a good combination in and out of the water,' Jim told Reuters.

The two are long shots for medals, having only been together for about 18 months in an event where the world's top pairs have usually been sailing partners for at least a decade.

The two are the unlikeliest of shipmates.

Hudson, now in his early 30s, grew up in the world of sailing, long associated with affluence. Jim, 20, comes from the Red Hill township overlooking the waters near Cape Town, a place whose streets of broken asphalt are a world away from the pristine yacht clubs dotting the coast.

As a teen, Jim joined the Izivungu Sailing School, aimed at building self-esteem and sailing skills among the legions of poor black youth whose lives have improved little since white-minority apartheid rule ended in 1994.

Jim, who goes by the nickname 'squirrel', took to the water like a duck, moving into the crew assembled by RaceAhead, set up by Roger Hudson and his father David Hudson, who represented South Africa at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and managed the country's team at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Their RaceAhead foundation brings together promising sailors from diverse economic backgrounds in a nation where the scars of apartheid still run deep, and deep inequalities persist.

Roger Hudson, a teenager when Mandela became president, said he was inspired by his vision of a racially unified South Africa and the way he brought the country together through sport. 'When we put aside our different backgrounds and cultures to work together, we can be very strong,' he said.

When Jim, named SA Sailing Magazine's South African sailor of the year in 2010, said he saw his future as a competitive sailor, Hudson asked could they campaign together.


With Jim as the helmsman and Hudson as the sail trimmer and tactician, they have climbed up world rankings from 213th in June 2011 to 46th less than a year later.

'Everyone we put behind us is a success because they are all of an extremely high pedigree,' Hudson said.
Their plan is to position Jim as a top sailor for the 2016 Games and a medallist by 2020.

For David Hudson, seeing his son and Jim sailing together in London will be a victory for the country.

'This is the optimistic vision of a new South Africa,' he RaceAhead website

These are extracts from the original Reuters article - See the the complete article here

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
NaiadKilwell - 5T Clewring - Generic