Whatever the reason, "We'll end up like Greece!" seems to be the equivalent of the parental warning, "You'll shoot your eye out!" Greece has become a synonym for "really really bad".
Well, the future of the US economy may still be in some doubt, but one thing is clear: the state of US Olympic fleet racing is already pretty dire. The latest ISAF World Sailing Fleet Racing Rankings have just been released. The histogram below shows the countries ranked by the number of top three ranked sailors they have in all nine Olympic fleet racing classes.
OMG. The USA is ranked as level with Belarus and... Greece.
I have attended several Laser Masters World Championships with the letters USA proudly displayed on my sail. I have sailed in several Sunfish World Championships as a member of the US team. Whatever it says in my passport, when it comes to international sailing I am an American. And I must admit I am ashamed to see my adopted nation ranked so low.
The richest nation in the world with over 300 million people and 12,000 miles of coastline is no better at sailing than tiny Greece with 11 million people? What is going on?
OK. OK. I guess Greece does have a fine maritime tradition and a fairly long coastline. So I guess it's not too awful for the United States to say, "We're no worse than Greece."
But Belarus? Now this is getting ridiculous.
Landlocked Belarus. Made up country that was part of the former Soviet Union. Tiny Belarus. There as many people living in Los Angeles as in Belarus.
That is pretty sad. We competed with the Soviet Union in every sphere of human endeavor for decades. In space, in science, in sport. We raced them to the moon. We won the cold war.
And we did all that so that one day we could say that in sailing, "We're no worse than Belarus"?
What is wrong with US Olympic sailing? Why is our ISAF ranking so low?