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Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

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Fallout continues after World Sailing’s 2024 Olympic event selection shitshow the other day, which saw the members of the sport’s governing body ignoring the last few years of progress (and once again, its own Events Committee) on their way to choosing a 2024 Olympic Events slate that in most ways preserves the status quo and completely ignores the IOC’s mandates – despite claiming it follows them.

You can talk here about the Romanian submission which was eventually selected, but without understanding the politics behind these types of votes, you won’t really get it.

The most important thing to understand about the submission is that it is mostly an attempt to change the definition of ‘mixed’ in order to sneak extra events past the IOC and allow the Finn to stay in the Games.  It’s also got at least one monster error about women and body weight. Neither problem stopped Submission M22-18 from winning, so let’s take a look.

The way things are for Tokyo, Olympic Sailing has 10 events: 5 men’s events (Laser, 420, 49er, Finn, RS:X), 4 women’s events (Radial, 420, FX, RS:X) and 1 truly ‘mixed’ event (Nacra 17) where men and women compete together.

Under Submission M22, Olympic Sailing would still see 10 events, with men ((Laser, 49er, new Windsurfer), and women (Radial, FX, new Windsurf) each getting 3.  The mixed Nacra would still be a co-ed crew as would the new mixed 470 class, but what about those final two ‘mixed team’ events?

First is ‘mixed kiteboarding’, which is really just men and women’s separate kiteboarding with combined scores.  It’s not like running or swimming ‘team’ relay events we’re used to, where athletes already competing in other events race in these.  The new proposed classes are entirely new events with riders who won’t be competing otherwise, so while World Sailing and the IKA spent millions to ensure that kiting was fast-tracked to the Olympics under the World Sailing umbrella, it’s  only worthy of a single ‘team’ event.  Like the multihull, a second-class citizen.

Finally, let’s look at the ‘Mixed One-Person Dinghy’ event proposal, which goes through some tortured logic on its way to accomplishing the real goal for the entire submission: To keep the Finn in the Olympics.  There’s one reason the Star was so hard to kick out of the Olympics: Lots of the rich old yachties who run the sport sail them and love them.  And if you think lots of privileged old guys sail the Star, wait til you see how many sail the Finn!

Anyway, working with some well-known Euro rabble-rousers, the Romanians started with ‘keep the Finn’ and then backed their way through the rest of the slate to come up with the only gender-neutral solution for their orphan Heavyweight Dinghy: Ditch the 470 and come up with a women’s Finn that will combine points with the men, and call it a “Mixed Event”.  The Romanians even picked the ideal woman’s size for crew of the new dinghy to be “around 70kg” (155 lbs) or about the same size as many of the top Radial, Nacra, and FX crews and many of the boardsailors.

One problem: In many countries, the pool of woman of that size just ain’t big, and that leaves only two spots in all of Olympic Sailing for smaller women: Helm on a new mixed 470 team, or helm of a Nacra with a big male crew.

The excellent PR team behind the Finn Class rushed to correct the Romanian fuckup, writing this morning that the 70 KG number will be changed, and that the “Equipment Committee will define the criteria to decide the equipment in November 2018, with the intention to have a one-person women’s boat to suit a different physique.”  Translation: The Finn FX or whatever will be for little thangs: a lightweight boat for lightweight women.  Our guess is the ideal weight will be targeted at somewhere from 50-55 KG, square in the typical 470 skipper’s sweet spot.

If this is what really happens, we obviously don’t mind it.  Men get the Finn so that neanderthals still have some chance to get some metal, and the spinners get some hobbit-sized Finn cousin that swamps if you get aboard after eating a big sandwich.  Just think of the visuals, or look at this shot of an ideal Finn body and a gorgeous potential SlimFinn racer for a great example.

As for the overall proposal, we think it is a mistake to walk away from the ‘offshore’ event proposal, which, aside from kiteboarding aerials (if it ever happens and if it is even remotely related to sailing) is probably sailing’s only real chance to go mainstream at the Olympics and teach the world sailing in a way they can understand.

But at least all the 470 chicks will have somewhere to go play.  We will most certainly be watching.

Don’t understand the title? Science class for you.

 

 

 

May 15th, 2018 by admin

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The Tooth About The Tropics

As snow falls on the plains and cold air settles in over much of the Northern world, we’re always wishing we had a longer sailing season, better weather, more sun.  But you know what we don’t have to worry about here in the snowy Nordlands?  The world’s largest lizard and deadliest predator in our dinghy harbors!  Here’s how a massive saltwater croc effected dinghy sailing at Singapore’s National Sailing Center on Monday.

The National Sailing Centre (NSC) has suspended all its water activities after sightings of a crocodile in the waters off East Coast Park on Monday (Nov 6), even as efforts to capture the crocodile are under way. 

A spokesman for the NSC told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Nov 7) that contractors at a construction area next to the NSC saw a crocodile on Monday afternoon.

About 120 sailors were affected when water activities were ceased that day

“The Singapore Sailing Federation informed the National Parks Board immediately and called off all water training immediately,” said the spokesman. “As the safety of the participants are our priority, on-water activities will be ceased until further notice.”

The spokesman said this is the first time a crocodile has been sighted near the sailing centre.

Mr Chia Seng Jiang, group director of parks at NParks, told ST that NParks was alerted on Monday and Tuesday to sightings of a crocodile in the waters near NSC.

The Cost of Greatness?

Ailes, O’ReillyWeinstein, Spacey, CK – the #metoo movement has pushed sexual abuse and harrassment into the sunlight where it belongs, helping millions of women and men around the world finally understand that they are anything but alone.  It’s hit sports as hard as anything else, and it turns out the most successful Olympic team of all time is full of athletes who’d been molested since at least age 13 by their (formerly) highly respected team doctor, Michigan State’s Larry Nassar – who looks like he shops for his clothes, glasses, and general look at ‘Pedophiles R US’.

 

So next time you’re pissed about winter or about how few medals US Sailing wins, just remember: It could be worse. Far worse.

 

November 10th, 2017 by admin

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The talented former pro rider and Founder/president of the International Federation of Kitesports Organizations talks to Alan Block about the years long struggle between his organization and a group of companies, people, and organizations – including World Sailing – for the governance, ownership, and future of kiteboarding at all levels.  Diogo Paes Fernandes has a very interesting story to tell about the biggest sporting organizations in the game, and we were fascinated to hear it.  if you are interested in board sports, the sports’ governance, and the dirty meat inside the shiny Olympic fruit, this one’s for you.  Direct downloads here, and please subscribe to the SA Podcast here (iTunes) or here (Android).

Show Notes:

07:54 Why Spanish people can’t understand Portuguese but Portuguese can understand Spanish
09:34 How Diego began his kiteboarding career, what he’s done
12:29 How to raise a kiting rock star – or at least a kid who loves what you do
15:04 Is the current state of kiting – tech and the sport’s maturity – a good time for a young rider to get into the sport?
16:29 Has the more modern gear and design made kiting safer? How did you deal with your kid’s safety when learning?
19:29 What was it like in the early days of pro riding? What was competitive kiting like before the IKA was born? When was it born?
22:38 How did IKA convince kite organizations to join them and World Sailing?
23:42 Was it improper for IKA to declare itself the governing body of kiting? Why?
24:04 Who is the mystery character that has been pushing kite boarding towards sailing and the olympics?
25:06 What is an International Federation anyway? How does it validly and responsibly represent its sport?
27:39 Is kiteboarding sailing? What do riders think?
29:04 What happened to windsurfing under ISAF/World Sailing stewardship?
30:44 Is World Sailing somehow sabotaging windsurfing to get kites in the Olympics?
31:44 Why doesn’t Diogo and IFKO work within World Sailing to accomplish the goals of the riding community?
33:24 Who are all the organizations now claiming to control kiting and how have they gone about pursuing those claims?
37:09 Who has jurisdiction over the IOC and its affiliated organizations?
38:39 Would kiting be better off under the IFKO or World Sailing? Why?
42:24 False documents, national sports ministers, and accreditation. How does it work (or not work)?
43:44 What laws does Diogo think have been broken in this case?
46:24 Why does sailing wants kiting in the Olympics so badly?
49:54 Why does Olympic sailing have such poor fan base
54:24 Speed skating, the EU commission for sport, and monopolies. What’s up?
55:09 How does Diogo intend to move forward to regain control of kiting?
57:59 What is the Global Kitesports Association, and what do they do?
62:61 what are IKA/GKA doing to advance kiteboarding interests?
68:44 Are there any official inquiries into the whole IKA vs. IFKO saga or anyone officially questioning IKA’s right to ‘exclusively govern’ kiteboarding?
70:54 What organizations does the IFKO represent?
75:44 How did the IKA move into and gather the support of the national kiting bodies?
81:04 Javier Perez Dolset, Spanish jails, and the ownership of kiteboarding.
87:04 Virgin Kite World Tour and Sir Richard Branson’s love affair with kiting. What kind of money is in kiting competitions?
88:34 Has Diogo or the IFKO reached out to Richard Branson?
89:54 Does Diogo  really believe World Sailing is corrupt?
90:54 If Diogo could set the sport up in his own dream scenario, what would it look like in ten years?
96:09 How can riders or others support what you’re trying to achieve for kiteboarding?

September 25th, 2017 by admin

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It’s all up for grabs on the final day of the 2017 49er Worlds, and for the men at least, its the first time in ten years that anyone not named Burling, Martinez, or Outerridge will be crowned master of the men’s skiff.  Plenty of breeze for the four men’s gold fleet races, and if we don’t get another afternoon gale, the medal races for the men and women will be a sight to behold.

Watch it all unfold above, and be sure to check out Clean’s dock walk a few minutes ago for the forecast, format, and a look at the fleet launching.

September 2nd, 2017 by admin

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Yesterday’s capsize-filled funfest at the 49er Worlds gives way to a forecast today that’s slightly more reasonable as the fleet splits into Gold and Silver…12-18 knots are on call with meaty seas from the North and plenty of action from some of the world’s best sailors and the future stars of the AC and VOR.  Clean and team are live from 10:30 local/1130 CET.  Watch and share, and catch up on your interviews over at the Class FB page.

 

September 1st, 2017 by admin

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Two days of 49er and FX Worlds gone with zero racing, but at least there are piles of gorgeous racer chicks around to talk to!  Here’s a half hour of Clean’s Adidas Morning Show – first with super hot European champs Tina Lutz and Sani Beucke, then a chat with the entire 6-woman strong Dutch FX squad, and finally a preview of the top sailors by Class Manager and Beijing Olympian Ben Remocker.  And it’s all shot right in front of one of the most famous Olympic boats of all time: Rodney Pattison’s three-medal winning Flying Dutchman Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – which he named to annoy the press.

Three days of fully livestreamed action are coming your way from Porto starting tomorrow…wind or no wind.  It might end up being a surfing competition instead of sailing….

More Clean interviews, pics from Ricardo Pinto and Maria Muina, and contests at the 49er Facebook Page.

August 30th, 2017 by admin

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Nacra and the designers of the foiling Nacra 17 have more egg on their faces after they cancelled the Nacra 17 medal racing day at the Aarhus “Test Event” last week due to a problem with the foil bearings.   The radical recall was necessary because of safety concerns for boards that were breaking during normal sailing conditions.  With the first-ever foiling N17 World Championship scheduled to go off in just three weeks, the latest snafu threatens to wreck schedules and budgets for the dozens of teams headed to the South of France for Worlds.

No one who has followed the life of the N17 (or any new foiler, really) could be surprised, as the Olympic cat has been plagued by design and build issues for most of its life.  The last cycle saw NACRA dealing with a faulty mast design early on, the Dutch builders replacing literally hundreds of masts with temporary tin rigs before supplying retooled carbon sticks a few months later.  This cycle has already seen one daggerboard recall thanks to faulty paint, but the latest bearing mess is the first problem that threatens to derail a major championship.  The silver lining is that only the 47 teams who’ve already gotten their foiling boats (or retrokits) are effected – a fraction of how many new masts needed to be provided back in 2013/14, but the black cloud won’t clear until the Class meets this week to decide on whether to cancel their Worlds.

We have a lot of respect for the risky step the builders, Class members, and World Sailing took when they opted to thrust the foiling option out into the world, and we expected plenty of problems with what, to many, was a rushed decision that led to an overcompressed design/build/test/build cycle for a type of boat that would have plenty of fixes necessary even if it wasn’t rushed.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Moths, Phantoms, GC32s, America’s Cup boats, A-Cats, and everything else that flies has had similarly unexpected tech gremlins; the difference this time lies in the abuse Olympians subject their boats to, and the production volume promised by the builder.

NACRA is clearly guilty of overpromising and underdelivering, but the sailors tell us they’ve done a good job providing repairs, replacements, and support as quickly as possible.  We also direct you to the Nacra 17 Class manager’s statement, which is comprehensive, detailed, and doesn’t shy away from any of the heat – wouldn’t you like your Class to talk to you like this when shit goes wrong?

What’s most interesting to us about the latest Olympic multihull brouhaha is how a select few sailing media outlets and shit stirrers have jumped on Nacra’s problems as some kind of karmic expression of just how evil multihull/foiling is.  A handful of ancient mariners – some of them running their own news sites – remain so angry that these newfangled catamarans and inhuman ‘flying’ boats have ruined ‘their’ America’s Cup, debased the cherished Whitbread, sullied their World Match Racing Tour, and reduced the beloved Star boat to irrelevance, and you’ll likely hear bitching and moaning from them until 12 meters are racing in the America’s Cup again.  In other words, we all have to listen to their shit for the few years they have left.

It doesn’t matter to these old timers that every young sailor wants to foil, and it doesn’t matter that people want to watch fast boats far more than they do slow ones.  These people don’t care about the sport’s future at all – they’d rather sailing continue its slow death as long as they still have some voice in it…

Thread about the Nacras is here.

 

August 14th, 2017 by admin

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Blair Tuke made all the local papers when he signed up with MAPFRE last month with taglines like “Tuke Aims At First Triple Crown.”  John Kostecki famously became the first – and only – sailor to hold the distinction of winning a Whitbread/VOR, Olympic medal, and the America’s Cup, but since JK’s medal was only silver, it left things open for Tuke to be the first to get the “Real” crown – the golden one.

The pin-up looking Olympian may be fighting for it against a familiar face, with Pete Burling looking for all the world like he’s the latest addition to Bouwe Bekking’s Brunel entry in the Volvo.  There have been rumors of Burling looking for a big deal from one of the teams for a while now, and Bekking knows the importance of fast drivers more than perhaps anyone who’s done this race. This pic from before the Fastnet popping up in the forums doesn’t seal the deal, but the fact that Bouwe hasn’t been returning calls lately makes us think the Burling announcement is imminent.

Rumors continue to swirl about NZL 49er FX standouts Alex Maloney and Molly Meech joining another Volvo team, but whether it’s the long-awaited Team 8 (perhaps a Kiwi-ish effort under the management of Craig Monk) or they do part-time duty for an already-entered while training to improve on their Olympic Silver we do not yet know.  One great skiff driver and one giant of an athlete…both under 30…why wouldn’t you?

Talk it up in the VOR thread.

August 8th, 2017 by admin

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Theatre-style short-course racing for the Medal fleets, 20-30 knots, flat water, and definitely time for some carnage.  Don’t miss it!

August 4th, 2017 by admin

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Clean and the 49er/Nacra 17 media team are calling it all live today, and with real breeze on for the first time in the Euros, we’re finally going to see some upwind foiling starting at 1100 CET.  49ers run in the afternoon, so don’t miss it…or if you do, just press ‘play…’  Isn’t the modern era wonderful?

August 3rd, 2017 by admin

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