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Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

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screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-12-30-29-pmAs many US Sailing Team fans will already have noted, Managing Director Josh Adams has left for greener pastures, (though he is assisting with the transition to new leadership) while today,  two-time Aussie gold medal crew Malcolm Page was named new US Sailing Team Director.

A college dinghy and team racer who came to the team after years as a magazine publisher, Adams was charged with what may have been an impossible task for someone with his experience level; to bring the US Team back from its dismal, zero-medal performance in London and make a real impression in Rio.  Despite what seemed like a good plan for Brazil, the team’s 2016 performance was only tolerable in comparison to the 2012 debacle, and something had to change for the next quad.

Fortunately, US Sailing finally did what we’ve been begging them for a decade -  quit hiring your management consultant and magazine publishing pals from New England for this essential job, and find someone with a proven history of winning – even if you have to headhunt them from somewhere else.

Enter Mal Page, who aside from being the most decorated dinghy sailor in Aussie history, may be the only sailor to ever win a gold medal with two different skippers.  Page walks away from one of the toughest jobs in sailing – Marketing Director for ISAF – to take on another extremely tough job, but one he’s uniquely prepared for.  We say this not because Page has led a big team to success; we say it because he was part of one of the winningest Olympic sailing teams in modern history, and a very clever lad.

Perhaps more importantly, he comes from a decade worth of training under the world’s best olympic sailing coach – Victor “The Medal Maker” Kovalenko (pictured with Page, above).  While it’s too much to hope that Victor will defect to the USA as part of the deal (Kovalenko has famously turned down some huge international paydays to stick with his adopted homeland downunder), Page should have all the tools he needs to recreate the winning culture enjoyed by the US Sailing Team up until the past decade.

You guys always come up with the best questions, and I’ll be speaking to Mal tomorrow morning for this week’s SA Podcast.  What do you want to know about the 2016 performance, the plans for Tokyo 2020 and the team, about Malcolm in general, or whatever?

Post your questions here.

This post has been edited to reflect the fact that Josh Adams was not fired, but resigned instead.  We note, however, that numerous sources inside both the governing body and the team were extremely dissatisfied with the team’s performance and in our opinion, Adams was not long for the job.

 

November 28th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

The MUSTO + Torqeedo “Cleanin’ Up Europe” report moves from sunny Barcelona to grey, misty Amsterdam, but not before a short chat with the newly elected World Sailing President Kim Andersen from Denmark.  Andersen took the top spot in the sport away from an incumbent for the first time in the history of the organization, though considering the litany of missteps from the previous board, it’s not a huge surprise.  The Dane’s mantra has been about transparency, equality, and the growth of sailing – not just the growth of Olympic Sailing and revenue streams.

We’ll have plenty more on the interesting developments that came out of the 2016 World Sailing Conference, and trust us – despite the general, all-talk/no-action nature of conferences, plenty of shit went down and plenty of it was good.  In the meantime, we’ll be using Facebook Live for the next two days to bring you the latest and greatest kit from the METS show in dreary Holland. Keep an eye on the page as interviews and product spotlights pop up in our video feed.

Big congrats to Torqeedo for winning their second DAME award in four years!  And a big thanks to them and MUSTO for presenting all of our Vendee, ISAF World Council, and METS coverage this month.  Also thanks to Ocean Planet Energy and Doyle Sails NZ for their support of our coverage.

 

November 16th, 2016 by admin

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The MUSTO + Torqeedo “Cleanin’ Up Europe” report continues with a talk about foiling Olympic catamarans, innovations in live race coverage, Rio craziness, and how to manage an Olympic Class of racing boats.

A few months back,  the guys who’ve been running the 49er and FX Classes so competently for the past few years added the Nacra 17 Class to their workload.  Canadian Class Manager Ben Remocker and expat Irish President Marcus Spillane are young, innovative, and don’t give a shit about politics – they consider their duty to their sailors absolute, and the vigor with which they approach their job is refreshing.

They pull no punches, either – whether it’s talking about the Nacra 17′s problems or the concerns about foiling, the inside stories from Rio, or explaining how to get around ISAF obstacles, these guys are always entertaining interesting and there’s plenty to learn in our mostly sober talk in a hotel room in Barcelona.

Listen above, download here for later listening, or subscribe to the SA Podcast on iTunes, and as always, a big thanks to MUSTO and Torqeedo for presenting all of our Vendee, ISAF World Council, and METS coverage this month.  Also thanks to Ocean Planet Energy and Doyle Sails NZ for their support of our coverage.

 

November 13th, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-11-58-45-amClean Report

ISAF World Sailing continues its confusing stance on Olympic classes and events.  For a while, the world was operating under WS’s stated goal of keeping everything the same until 2020; then, it was all about adding kiteboards and foilers and maybe even a 4-boat winner-take-all medal race for all classes.  Now, World Sailing’s Board seems to have backtracked on everything…or have they?  Here’s the statement forwarded by a helpful MNA sitting next to me in the WS Conference…

The President, Carlo Croce, with the support of all Board members, has decided, following his most recent communications with the IOC, that he, as President, shall not propose an alternative Olympic slate to Council in February 2017.  This means that World Sailing would propose the existing 10 Events and Equipment for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition.

In addition, World Sailing will continue to pursue the possibility of an 11th Medal in 2020 with the IOC on the basis that the total number of athletes remains at 380.  Furthermore, World Sailing is also exploring the possibility of a showcase sailing event in Tokyo which if agreed would be over and above the existing athlete quota. The Board believes this strategy best protects existing investments and programmes, whilst enabling World Sailing to demonstrate innovation to the IOC.

The Board will continue to support changes in format and fleet sizes to best meet the objectives of the IOC’s Agenda 2020.  These decisions will be made in accordance with normal World Sailing processes.

Regarding gender equity, the IOC has confirmed that gender equity in 2020 may be assessed at a “sport level” (i.e. on the basis of total number of athletes in each sport).  Hence World Sailing can meet IOC’s gender equity requirements in 2020 with appropriate fleet quota changes, within sailing’s current 10 Events and can seek to achieve gender equity at an event level by 2024.

November 10th, 2016 by admin

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After the EU issued its potentially groundbreaking opinion on the anti-competitive nature of certain sporting rules last month we knew there’d be a shakeup, and the first shots have just been fired across ISAF World Sailing’s bows.  The International Federation of Kitesports Organizations sent this letter to World Sailing, putting them on notice that their attempted monopolization of kiteboarding shouldn’t stand.  With World Sailing’s AGM coming up next week and the all-important election to see if current President Carlo Croce will be allowed to continue his reign, this bombshell puts even more pressure on the MNA members to get with the times and elect someone who understands the ‘good ol’ boys’ days are over.  Here’s the letter:

This Warning Letter is to inform WS that if it does not refrain from taking any decisions or voting concerning the Sport Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding on water at the next WS AGM in November/Barcelona and act in order to maintain the Kiteboarding status quo, we will unfortunately have to apply for a court order to ensure and preserve the IFKO governance rights on Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding on water sport.

This written warning is issued because, at first sight, WS has no legitimacy to govern the Sport of Kiteboarding on water (commonly known as Kitesurfing) demonstrated in the following evidences: a) WS by Constitution, denomination and aims is the governing body of the sport Sailing; b) IFKO is the only international federation in the world with the denomination, nature, object and objectives by constitution as governing body of all Kitesports; c) WS recognises “IKA” as the “class association” however there is no evidence or transparent proof of the existence of the legal registration of this entity as an “association” with this denomination since 2008.
Your failure to refrain from taking any decisions or voting concerning the Sport Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding on water at next WS AGM in November/Barcelona negatively impacts IFKO work and authority as governing body of the sport Kitesurfing. It demonstrates the intention of duplication of governance already taken by IFKO, disrespects the legal object and objectives of IFKO and directly damages the proper world organisation of the Kitesurfing sport.

This WS intention of usurpation of IFKO governance rights on Kitesurfing sport problem is not the first time. You have been informed and warned on four other occasions (by letter: 07/01/2016, 10/02/2016, 18/03/2016, 14/10/2016) to respect the IFKO existence, nature, object and objectives.

IFKO, as it is under SportAccord Membership application procedure, asked SportAccord and AIMS to set up and mediate a meeting between IFKO and WS Delegations which had a positive answer. We hope you will promptly accept the meeting request in a good will to achieve understanding in this “rivalry issue” on the Kitesurfing governance in good faith and reasonable grounds.

November 3rd, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-10-04-11-amUnlike the messy US Election, the choice for the first-ever Olympic foiler was a much less nasty affair.  Plenty of questions remain about the equipment and event choices for Tokyo 2020, but the odds-on favorite for the first flying boat at the Olympics is now the Nacra 17 in its new 4-point foiling configuration.   A majority of the 89 votes cast during an EGM held over the weekend called for the full ‘evolution’ of a boat that had more than its share of problems in its first quad, and while no one thinks this will be an easy transition, Anarchists who’ve tested out the new design have walked away with big, big smiles on their faces.  We’ll have more on this in a couple of weeks in Barcelona, but for now, here’s the press release from the Class:

On the 19th of October the Nacra 17 class members assembled for an electronic Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). Three topics debated were
a) an update to the class constitution
b) advertising
c) whether or not class members recommend full foiling for 2020 or not

A presentation covering the proposed changes to equipment, pricing, and procedure was shown to 50 members in attendance over the course of 2 hours. Details of how the boats would be made stronger and more consistent were included. Also shown was three pricing options for a mk 2 Nacra 17 was presented which can be downloaded here.

The three options for equipment going forward are:
a) retrofit a mk1 boat to go full foiling for 7,900 euros
b) Buying a new platform for 14,500 euros, retaining the ability to sell the mk1 platform for a next cost of about 7500 euros
c) Buying a new boat for 24,250 euros, an increase of about 2000 euros from the mk1 price

Following the presentation was a discussion with questions and answers from class members and leadership. At the close the meeting, voting was opened to class members. 89 members voted from the total membership of 132, above the 40% threshold required to form a quorum. All of the motions passed, with the advertising and constitution motions receiving 87% support or higher. the major question of whether to recommend to World Sailing whether Nacra 17 should go fully foiling for the 2020 Olympic or not was a closer vote, but ultimately passed 48 votes to 33, for a 59% support level.

As such, the Nacra 17 class has sent a letter to the head of the Equipment Committee of World Sailing with the class recommendation.  Class president, Marcus Spillane, will convey this position at the World Sailing Conference next month in Barcelona. Equipment of the updated configuration will become available following confirmation from World Sailing Conference of their position on the matter. Team wishing to get onto the waiting list for mk2 equipment should be in contact with the Nacra Sailing head office.

 

October 24th, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-10-20-pmIt must suck to win an Olympic gold medal in your fifties and find out you’re not even ranked in the the top ten in your class!  This screenshot comes from Santiago Lange’s current, official World Sailing Rankings for the Nacra 17 – apparently, the Princess Sofia is worth 100 points, but the Olympics is worth nothing at all.   Unless it’s yet another in the endless parade of World Sailing fuckups?

Title shout to the Chocolate Factory and to the late, great Gene Wilder.

October 14th, 2016 by admin

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Spurred on by sailors around the world to help save sailing from itself, the former 10-year president of ISAF has thrown his hat back into the ring to become President of World Sailing during the November election in Barcelona.  A two-time Olympic sailor himself, Paul “The Pope” Henderson has strong, clear ideas about where ISAF needs to go in order to regain its reputation, its value, and its relevance to the sport. Paul and Clean go deep in the first of our special World Sailing election coverage; an hour and a half of stories and discussion from Henderson’s experiences over a long lifetime inside the sport; from the infamous 1972 Munich Olympics to his quest to uncover what’s really been going on at ISAF for the past few years to the origin of his nickname, the man is a natural storyteller and he deftly makes his case for where sailing has gone wrong and where it needs to go for the future.  He also drops a few bombs, so don’t miss it.

Learn who’s running for the ISAF election here, and click this map to find out who to call in your own National Governing Body to ask who they’re voting for in November.  Check back here on the Front Page for our second presidential candidate’s interview coming this weekend after we speak to Denmark’s Kim Andersen.  Subscribe to the SA Podcast here.

 

October 13th, 2016 by admin

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post-40393-0-23622000-1475269420

Perhaps the most likely foiling candidate for Tokyo 2020 is already doing her thang on the water; go here for some good video of the Nacra 17 flying her ass off, and ask Nacra about it in the thread.

October 2nd, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-2-53-05-pmAs you’ve likely read on these pages before, one of our biggest beefs with the folks who run ISAF World Sailing has long been their willingness to threaten those who compete in non-ISAF sanctioned events with a ban from competition.  We’ve long maintained that the rule allowing them to do this (ISAF/World Sailing Regulation 19.14 (a)(ii)) is illegal in much of the modern world, and it appears that the European Commission agrees wholeheartedly.

Acting on complaints from a pair of Dutch speedskaters, EU regulators have told the International Skating Union that its threat to impose lifetime bans on speed skaters for taking part in unauthorized events is anti-competitive, putting pressure on the ruling body and other agencies with similar penalties to back down.  The skaters said the ISU threatened them if they competed in a big money “ice derby” in Korea, and after a year-long investigation, the EU agreed that the ISU violated the anti-trust sections of EU law.

For a legal description of what exactly happened and what the implications are for the ISU and other bodies (like ISAF), check out the EU Competition Law Review summary here.  We can sum it up quickly though:  The EU investigated ISU for a year, and determined that the ISU rules (that allow up to a lifetime ban for competitors) unduly restrict athletes’ commercial freedom and effectively discourage them from participating in events other than those organized by ISU or its members.  In other words, the international governing body’s rules are an attempt to create an impermissible monopoly over all skating events…

ISU now must issue a response to the EU, after which point the EU will decide what penalties and actions they will take against the ISU, and if the ISU’s incredibly condescending and dismissive initial response is any indicator, the EU is going to have to take a swing.  ISU said it was “surprised” at the EU view, and that, despite their investigation, they ‘failed to understand’ the international sports world.  Perhaps they meant to write that the EU  “failed to understand how crooked our international sports world is…”

The smarmy Swiss-based org went on to write that “any allegation that the ISU’s rules are somehow anti-competitive appears to be based on a misplaced understanding of the governance structure of sport and the Olympic movement. A neoliberal and deregulated approach to sport could destroy the Olympic values underpinning sport.”

It’s the same response that insiders always give when challenged with their malfeasance, and it’s always bullshit.  Bodies like ISU and ISAF need to face the fact that their monopolies are ending, and organizations that dedicate their resources to improving the services they offer in a competitive world are going to succeed. Those who stick their fingers in their ears and complain that the government just doesn’t understand them?  Folks who are allergic to transparency and equality?  It’s time to go.

We’ll dedicate an upcoming podcast to the wider-reaching implications of this anti-competition ruling, especially as it effects ISAF’s unfounded attacks on IKFO kiteboarders and the non-transparent and anti-competitive equipment selection process for the next Olympics.  The kiters are in almost the exact position as the Dutch skaters so we’d expect the IKFO to be filing a complaint with the same EU body very soon if they haven’t done it already.  This one is getting good.

 

September 29th, 2016 by admin

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