Friday, September 05, 2008

Getting Serious About the Olympics

There's been a lull in posting here caused by a trip to the UK (without my laptop) and then my laptop going kaput on the day I returned. Perhaps it was lonely?

I'm still catching up on the US news while I've been away... why is this hockey mom who looks like she escaped from a Lenscrafters ad on the TV so much now? ... the Yankees are how many games behind? ... and it can't be football season already surely?

Anyway I haven't read much about what the US is planning to do to improve on its relatively dismal medal performance in Sailing at the 2008 Olympics. I did listen to John McCain's speech last night... but I don't think he mentioned this vital element of national policy. At least I didn't hear anything about sailing before I fell asleep somewhere in between his story about how being a POW is perfect preparation for being a POTUS (amazing nobody thought of this before), and the bit about how his new friend Sarah "works with her hands and nose". What was that all about?

Sorry about falling asleep Big John. Blame the jet-lag. But I'm not going to vote for you if you don't promise that the US will win a medal in every class in the sailing competition at the 2012 Olympics. Forget all that irrelevant stuff about offshore drilling (gets in the way of sailing) and the bridge to nowhere (I hate sailing under bridges anyway). At least the Democrats did show a sailing video at their convention.

Anyway I offer two observations for anyone in the US who is interested in raising the level of US sailing Olympic performance based on a couple of Olympics news snippets I read while in the UK.

  • The British Track and Field team had a target to win five medals in Beijing. They "only" won four. So this week they fired the "director of elite performance", which I think is Britspeak for head coach.

    Has anybody responsible for the US Sailing Team been fired?

  • Apparently the English professional football (Britspeak for soccer) teams hire a lot of promising youngsters of which only a few are kept on for professional careers with the teams. So someone came up with the bright idea of testing the kids that don't make the cut to assess their potential to excel in other sports... cycling, track, volleyball, cheese-rolling, midget-tossing, whatever... with a view to developing the best of the bunch for the Olympic teams. Sounds like a brilliant move to me. Here you have a source of fit, ambitious, highly motivated young men ready for a new challenge. It would surely be a shame if they all went off to be accountants or estate agents (Britspeak for realtor) or yobs (Britspeak for Red Sox fans).

    So what are the plans for finding the next generation of top sailors in the US?


EVK4 said...

An Optimist in Every Pot?

Tillerman said...

Pot? Brilliant.

Jeff B said...

Considering Anna the sole US gold medalist in sailing was born in the UK, I propose the ex-footballers that don't make the cut for the UK squad should be imported. John McCain is for immigration reform. That policy should include clause if no US citizen can do the job, properly skilled worker can be imported.

borosailor said...

as another Brit follower I have read that the GBR olympic athletes are well supported by money from the National Lottery. Seeing that huge sums of $$ are thrown at our various lotteries in this country (USA), surely we could do the same with some of the money and find the very best sailors in the world right here in Kansas (yes, we have lakes and strong wind!)

Pat said...

Act Locally:

Last weekend one of our old salts had four high school youth crewing a J/24 in our Labor Day Buoy Bash. We also had some youth fooling around in Sunfish.

Next weekend we'll have ten of our more experienced high school sailors racing Lasers (anyone ever heard of those boats?) and demonstrating their skills to a visiting group of Venture Scouts and advisers. Next weekend's regatta will also be a fund raiser for the Coronado Optimist Sailing Club (youth sailing group recently formed).

Carol Anne said...

Pat, do please get your terminology straight ... the kids weren't fooling around, they were messing about.

Tillerman said...

Jeff B - great idea.

Actually I think that the work visa under which I originally entered the US was issued only because my employer had to swear that no US citizen was able to do that job. Load of cobblers in my case of course, but it was clearly shown in China that none of the current US born sailors in the Olympic squad was capable of winning a gold medal... so we should just import more Brits.

Major League Baseball imports most of its top players too. So why not the US Olympic sailing team?


Tanzsegler said...

Can I vote myself on the team as a highly motivated, fit, young former soccer player who didn't make the cut, who likes to sail, and isn't really sure what to do with my life?

Pat said...

The Water Rat, take two...
"There is nothing, no nothing, quite as embarrassing as being corrected by one's spouse. Even while messing around in a boat."

Turinas said...

After the Olympics Sailing Regatta were over on the US Sailing’s Olympic blog, Team Leader Dean Brenner agonized about his pride and disappointment in a post entitled “Starting to get my arms around this”.

A little late to be getting his arms around anything methinks. I can’t imagine a more unfortunate post title.

Look! I am a limey at heart but I would have loved nothing more than seeing the US underdogs really challenge. Lets face it, the US team’s performance was poor. The medal tally was the same as 2004 and that was equally disappointing. The US finished out of the top 10 in 7 out of 11 events. That’s 7 medal events without US Sailors.

Come on! For a nation of 300 million people with our resources and heritage in Olympics sailing, can’t we do better?

In another article Dean said:

“We are in year four of a 20-year strategy. I’m proud of the results, but I’m not satisfied. We can do better, and once the dust settles on this event, we’ll get to work planning for 2012 and 2016.” He concluded, “I was happy when we were coming into these Games and I’m still happy.”

Hope is not a strategy!

And if you think the Brits were strong this time wait till Weymouth where it's their house.

Zen said...

Tillerman 08'


Carol Anne said...

Pat, it's messing about, not messing around.

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