Monday, December 11, 2006

Where Olympic Yachting is Headed

Adjusting your sport to remain relevant to Olympic viewers has happened again. Just 10 months ago, we witnessed the debut of snowboard-cross at the Winter Games in Torino, which drew big crowds and good ratings. Now for the 2010 games in Vancouver, expect to see the latest variation, skicross.

Similar to snowboard-cross, Skicross will involve groups of skiers racing each other to the bottom of a course with jumps, rollers, banks and other man-made and natural terrain features along the route. As the IOC is quoted to have said, skicross has a "strong appeal for the young generation."

For sailing, what events or classes have a “strong appeal for the young generation?” Do current Olympic classes like the Star and Finn - two of the less sexy classes currently being used - have a chance when events like the skicross are being invented for the “big crowds and good ratings.” Will the retention of long-standing Olympic classes be riding the coat tails of boats like the Foiling Moth? Or as Alpine sports have done, should sailing re-invent itself just for the grand stage of the Olympics?

I once tried to hop a water-ski ramp with a Flying Scot. Maybe the wrong tool for the job, but perhaps this is where Olympic yachting is headed. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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