dump olympic sailing

other voices

dump olympic sailing

Also worth a read is sports blogger Bomani Jones’ New York Times Op/Ed piece, not for its insight but instead for its ignorance in the belief that dinghy sailing is ‘the most exclusive’ sport in the Olympics and should get the boot from the Summer games.  Before you get your panties in a bunch and start firing off nasty comments to the Times, consider that Jones’ perception of sailing mirrors that of most of the United States.  Want to start making a difference?  Blow up his Twitter account with links to examples of just how inclusive sailing can be.  A few hundred Tweets has been known to move Senators; let’s see if y’all can sway this dude, and maybe a few of his 70,000 Twitter followers.  Thread is here.

After seeing the majestic diversity of the Olympics’ Parade of Nations, a visual representation of the best of the Olympic ideal, the last thing I want to watch is a sport where the biggest determinant of success is being rich. I could ask for many sports to be removed on this basis, but I’ll go with sailing because … well, who wants to watch boats that don’t make lots of noise?

O.K., I can do better — what does sailing embody that anyone loves, specifically, about the Olympics? Where is the simplicity of the event that gives the impression that anyone could participate?

You need to be of a certain class with special access to sail. In an event that celebrates inclusion, it is the most exclusive.
Even with sports like swimming and rowing, which cost too much for many, anyone could, theoretically, participate. There’s nothing stopping someone from doing backflips and the other staples of gymnastics.

Sailing? The name of the game is access. The touching human interest stories that buoy NBC’s ratings for the Olympics are somewhere between rare and nonexistent. It’s clearly an activity for a particular class stratus and, given how overwhelmingly white the Olympic participants are, it’s clearly not the world’s game.

If the Olympics is going to wrap itself in touchy-feely stories, it’s hard to get behind sports that are so obviously exclusive. If the Games are supposed to bring the world together, we can do without sports that do the opposite. Comment