Yep you are right al. The best technique at the highest level. The Olympic Games and multiple world championships. Why are you clowns so committed to belittling the achievements of not just such a great athlete, but such a great guy like Matt? I agree that what Paul has achieved in setting those speed records is also magnificent, but sailing in a straight line for 500 mts kinda makes a mockery of what you have just said about multiple platforms mate. Look there is no right answer to who was the best sailor last year, but why attack the achievements of a great sailor because you guys want to swing a punch at ISAF? The USA Olympic program is a joke at present, but rather than just admit it and do something positive towards fixing it, you dismiss the Games as irrelevant. Many great sailors use there Olympic success as a platform to go on to other things. If you don't respect what it takes to, and mean to win a gold medal then you are clueless. Or Americian. Probably comes from a history of calling your domestic sporting competitions 'World series's '
Aussies have always been really good sailors. But so too have there been great sailors from a wide variety of countries. It wasn't so long ago that the US utterly dominated Olympic sailing. That was during a time when actual classes mattered, not brand new manufacturer driven classes. We had great builders, and the world's best shipwright in Carl Eichenlaub. The world changes, things become more commercialized and professional with many countries having some sort of government funding. US sailors, for the largest part, pay their own way. Basically, the game is very different all over the world.
The 470 is an interesting survivor. Remember, it was Ullman who blitzed the fleet for three World's wins in the late 70's and early 80's. Benjy had a good run too, and we continued to medal in the class for years. So, it isn't like we are without success in that particular class either. We are admitted a bit thin now across the ranks of all Olympic sailing, and I'm not sure we will ever get back to the standard of being competitive in every class. Olympic sailing and all the rules that come with that are just not all that interesting to most people in this country. Every single element of your life is essentially controlled, down to when some guy can come knock on your door and have you piss in a cup. Seriously, who wants to live that way, all the time being nothing more than an unpaid actor auditioning for a TV show?
There's a couple of points of interest about the Olympics in general - after the last Russian fiasco of 1980, no one in the world wanted to host the '84 Games. The US, and LA in particular, stepped up and not only saved the Olympics, but completely reinvented the economics of it. Without what the LAOOC and Peter Uebberoth did, the Olympics would be nowhere near what they are today. Remember to thank the US for keeping the Olympics relevant and adding the commercial component that the rest of the world enjoys so much now.
The 470...that class was teetering on the edge of being pitched from the games, but Charlie Cook orchestrated the back room deal to keep the Star in a couple of quads ago, with the help of the 470 class. Quid pro quo...and exactly how did a certain 470 guy end up on the ISAF ExCom?
So sure, your guy Matt is probably a great guy, and no doubt a great sailor, but this award is just a marketing thing for ISAF, Rolex and whoever wins. Given the depth and breadth of the sport, it is otherwise meaningless to try and say one discipline is better than another.
Olympic sailing is not the be-all end-all of the sport. It is tiny boats with mostly tiny people now, sailing around a tiny course. And with all the bitching that went on in Weymouth about the location of the course to satisfy the desire of ISAF to make it spectator friendly, it is clear the standard of "world class conditions" for the Olympics has changed. Very good sailors still will win, no doubt, but it is a different game than it was even in '08.
So...good for your guy that he won. But is a very big world, and there's a lot of great sailors to be celebrated. The mistake ISAF makes is not recognizing more categories of great sailors every year. SA should have their own awards. Imagine the bitchfest that will happen then!