sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Sailing reaps benefits of winning culture

Sailing reaps benefits of winning culture

The British boat skimmed sweetly over the finish — that’s what it’s like down at the sailing these days; another day, another medal.

Chris Draper’s response was unequivocal: a dirty great deck-busting, heel-bruising stamp. Disappointment seared him. The medal was bronze.

Draper and Simon Hiscocks sailed in third in the 49er class and no; they were not happy, not happy at all. ‘We’re a bit down,’ Hiscocks said. Draper added: ‘We came here to win the gold.’


And if all this seems a trifle ungracious, it is not. It is just a reflection of the high expectations and high achievements of Great Britain’s sailors.

They are the most successful Britain team at these Games, with two golds, one silver and two bronzes. The cyclists are the only threat, with an almost equally impressive tally of two golds, a silver and a bronze.

Britain will finish as the top nation in Olympic sailing, just as they did in Sydney four years ago.

In Barcelona in 1992, the sailors got one bronze; in Atlanta four years later, two silvers. There has, then, been a bit of a sea change in British sailing. The Brits have bossed the regatta here and although it was a frustrating day, it was also a day of high achievement, a day that confirmed the recent but dazzling tradition of excellence.

The 49ers are sweet boats to watch, keel-less little things that seem scarcely to touch the surface of the water while the two-man crew leaps around with athletic precision and hangs dizzyingly from the trapeze.

It was good to go to sea, an essential part of any visit to Greece, for the sea swirls and rolls throughout the history and mythology of this thrillingly ancient place.

The sea swayed, rolled and tossed them, all blue with white wings, as George Seferis wrote in one of his sea-washed poems. The white wings of the sails didn’t get much air to fill them, though; airs that were neither nipping nor eager.

The British boys sought the best breeze, fearful of finding that most dreaded of things on a light air day, ‘a hole in the wind’.

They duelled piratically with the boat from Ukraine, knowing that to beat them by more than one boat would take them to silver and make it a more satisfying day altogether.

But it was not to be. ‘It’s been a long four years,’ Draper said. ‘It takes up my life. This is what we do, this is what we will continue to do.’

And that is what the Britain sailing team will continue to do. The medal tally is final now but — by any reckoning — it has been a deeply satisfactory performance.

No sport can claim to have quite the same success at the tricky task of converting lottery money into medals; converting, if you like, national folly into national joy.

This is the Olympic value sport. The sudden surge to effectiveness has coincided with the lottery money — it began after the Games of 1996 — so much so that it looks as if the whole business is about throwing money at a problem.

Which is all very well, but how come all the other lottery-funded Olympic sports aren’t as successful as sailing?

The answer is, sailing people say, that the lottery money came at the right time to an organisation that was already well geared for producing elite performers and elite performances. Medals, in other words.

It is reckoned that, even without lottery money, Britain would be a top-three sailing nation in a competitive and widely contested sport — medals have been spread over more than 20 nations.

It comes to a culture. And a victorious culture cannot be established overnight. Or even in four years, as the Britain swimming team found out to their great distress.

Bill Sweetenham always said that the Athens Games were just a staging post; that his first four years as performance director were not enough.

He has consistently promised that we will see the fruits of a properly established winning culture in four years’ time, in Beijing.

Rod Carr, chairman of the Royal Yachting Association, said that British sailing now has ‘a really bloody strong culture’, but that it was ‘modest and understated’.

What is so intriguing about such a culture is the way it enshrines winning more or less in its constitution. It really is true that winning begets winning.

It is an infectious thing — one team member wins, the next one expects to, or at least is totally unsurprised to be in a winning position.

Victory of a teammate changes a competitor’s attitude about himself, about herself. Winning becomes unsurprising, perhaps even inevitable.

These five medals, including the two extra-shiny ones, come as a result of intelligent, thought-through planning.

You don’t spread the money out too thin so that everyone can have a go, not if your job is to seek Olympic medals.

But you don’t just bung all your money at a few individuals at the top; you plan deep and you plan long.

Five medals at the World Youth Championships bear that out very pleasantly.

There has been wailing and gnashing of British teeth at the swimming and, in athletics, an awful lot of tears.

But if any Brits are upset down at the sailing regatta, it is because a bronze is a disappointment.

‘We’ll be happy tomorrow,’ Hiscocks said.




by Simon Barnes

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=14784

8:55 PM Mon 30 Aug 2004 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2004 Olympics Athens

Related News Stories:

04 Nov 2004  Athens shares Olympic lessons
29 Oct 2004  Voting closed for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year
02 Oct 2004  Yachting Australia High Performance review
16 Sep 2004  The President speaks - Olympics and no throw out
08 Sep 2004  ISAF official Olympic film
07 Sep 2004  First Rankings Of The New Olympiad Released
06 Sep 2004  Channel 7’s lack of Olympic sailing coverage
06 Sep 2004  The 2004 Olympic Games – the Forbes perspective
05 Sep 2004  Aussie Olympic dreams shattered
03 Sep 2004  Channel 7’s Olympic coverage
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World



































































Six Metre European Championship - High temps and little wind on day 3
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Light wind opener in Vannes
International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - American unbeatable on day 1
RS Feva World Championships - All set at Yacht Club de Carnac
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards - Nominations now open
BIC Techno 293 Worlds - Steady winds on day 2 + Video
29er North American Open Championship - Qualifying series wraps up
Opening ceremony O'pen Bic World Cup, Travemunde Week, Germany
Six Metre Europeans - Wind fails to make an appearance on day 2
Edgartown Race Weekend - Let the sailing (and good times) begin
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Action commences July 23
International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video
Spirits high as Team Alvimedica completes Transatlantic crossing
Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature
29er North American Championship - Day 1 in Kingston
Red Bull 49erFX: First look at the Olympic sailing venue at Rio
Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam - Classic conditions on day 3
NYYC Race Week Part II images by Rolex/Daniel Forster
Drowning or electric shock? What you need to know to help save a life
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 1   
Six Metre European Championship - Blazing sunshine on opening day   
National Sailing Hall of Fame to present Lifetime Achievement Award   
International Moth Worlds: Greenhalgh and Rashley tied at the top   
PWA Pozo World Cup - Fantastic finale determines winners   
Six Metre Class British Open Championship - Llanoria and Valhalla win   
Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games   
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA holds foiling camp at Wangi SC   
Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi OR completes double Atlantic crossing   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team SCA has a 'pull through day' off the Canaries   
No tiller sailing - how to steer using just the sails + Video   
International Moth Worlds: Three bullets in a row for Greenhalgh   
U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship - Sophia Reineke wins   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 0 Opening   
Fuerteventura World Cup - Slalom action highlights day 2   
2014 Governor's Cup - Sam Gilmour of RFBYC victorious again   
Farr 40 West Coast Champ - Skipper Alberto Rossi leads Enfant Terrible   
Flying Dutchman World Championships - Magyars are the Masters   
Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek   
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica pushing towards Southampton   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT