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Giles Scott expects to say 'Sayonara' after Tokyo 2020

by Sail-World.com/nz/BBC Sports 12 May 06:19 PDT 13 May 2019
Giles Scott (GBR) just after crossing the line in the penultimate race of the Finn Event at the Olympic Sailing Regatta - Rio 2016 © Richard Gladwell

The defending Olympic Champion in the one man Finn class says Tokyo 2020 is likely to be his last Olympics now the Finn class has been dropped for Paris 2024.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Scott reflected on the fact that there will be no place for heavier men (above 85kg) in the 2024 Olympic Sailing Regatta, due to the rigid application of a gender equality policy by World Sailing.

"It's a great shame," Scott, 31, told BBC Sport.

"I understand what World Sailing has tried to do, but it's fair to say the way in which it's unfolding has been a bit of a bitter pill to swallow.

"I understand the sport has to move on and adapt with the times, but for some of the younger guys coming through, who are restricted to the class because of their size, they're having their Olympic dream taken away from them."

Following the decision, the International Finn Association (IFA) stated that it felt the class had become "collateral damage in the quest for gender equality and Olympic TV rights income for World Sailing".

The IFA later added that Olympic sailing risked becoming "elitist" as the keelboat replacement would be "costly" and "significantly reduce" the number of sailors and nations able to compete for a place at future Games. Under its current proposal to prevent an "arms race" in the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat, the world body is proposing not to name the class until December 2023 - seven months before the Olympic Regatta - which World Sailing says is expected to be sailed in light airs.

World Sailing says it is "fully embracing" the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Agenda 2020 strategy of proposing events for Paris 2024 that are "gender equal, youthful, and universal".

Scott, who combines dinghy sailing with a role as a tactician for Sir Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK, now plans to move full-time into America's Cup sailing after the 2020 Olympics.

Before that, he will look to take a step towards Tokyo 2020 at the European Championships in Athens, Greece, this week.

"As it stands it [Tokyo 2020] will be the last Olympic Finn gold medal that you could ever possibly win, so it does add that little bit of incentive," he said.

"Last time around for Rio I did have a bit of a dual role, but I suppose I was 80% Olympic campaign and 20% America's Cup campaign, whereas now it's very much a 50-50 split.

"It's hard to manage both. It is do-able and if I can win my last race in a Finn out in Tokyo, then that would be a great way to sign off as an Olympic sailor."

Most if not all of the Finn sailors in Tokyo are expected to follow in Scott's footsteps, along with other younger sailors in the Laser class who would normally look to step up into the Finn after they physically matured and their natural body weight became too heavy to be competitive in the Laser.

Tokyo 2024 will be the 17th and last Olympic Regatta for the single handed Finn dinghy which has produced some of the stars of the sailing world, including Paul Elvstrom (DEN) and Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) who each won three Olympic Gold medals in the class and are widely regarded as the two top sailors in history. Sir Russell Coutts (NZL) and John Bertrand both went on to iconic America's Cup wins. Iain Percy (GBR) won a Gold medal in the Finn in 2000 and did the same in the Star keelboat in the 2008 Olympics.

Scott is the hot tip to repeat his Gold medal win in Tokyo 2020.

For the full BBC story click here

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