US isn’t competitive in medal chase at Tokyo 2020 because…

estarzinger

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Putting the olympics aside (which I personally think are a too narrow and tainted objective) - how do you achieve a world class cadre in a sport? My personal experience would suggest:

coaching - is super critical in all sorts of hard (skills and fitness) and soft (motivation and psychology) ways and good potential coaches are actually harder to identify and develop than good athletes.

You of course need a recruiting base, but with  country the size of america with the clubs and school programs that's really not going to be a failure point.  Where the failure point is failing to talent spot that existing pool.  It is not adequate to advance (only) those who are winning - even in a more raw physical sport (like bicycling) that is not adequate - there are other equally important qualities that screen future champions (work ethic, self awareness and honesty, competitive fire, the ability to recover from and learn from losses etc). This deep talent spotting is a coaching skill.  Highly attendended camps and large gathered racing events are pretty important to do this at all efficiently rather than going around and looking at kids by the ones and twos in low competitive environments.

Bottom-line - if the USA does not yet have a single medalist - they most likely the USA does not have a single truly world class coach.

competition - chicken and egg for geographically isolated country, but if you dont have it domestically you have to give the kids access to see and experience high level competitors, and the earlier that starts the higher their standards will be.  And foreign travel/competition costs money and time, and it will detract from the kids education (although also enhance it is soft ways by expanding their experience) in ways which may hurt their college and later opportunities - is a real trade-off.

motivation - the kids cannot be entitled rich kids who are 'giving it a go' until they go to yale law school - or if that is who they are the coaches need to find the few of them who actually have the heart of champions and fire them up.  And be willing to tell rich parents than johnny simply does not have what it takes.

 
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Bored Stiff

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And Australia, the land of the skiff, where apparent wind sailing, small boat foiling and other crazy shit began, won in the POS classes. Go figure.
Yes, curious this.  Australia did much better in the slow boats than the skiffs and cats. 
 

As to why the US aren’t competitive… all countries have to pick and chose the sports they want to compete in.  Ethopia prioritises distance running over swimming, the Netherlands puts cycling above baseball.  The US will win more medals per $ in athletics than sailing given the uphill battle to compete with Europe and Australasian so that is where the money goes. 

 

cbulger

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Our junior sailing programs, high school and college - almost exclusively use less athletic slow boats.  We are grooming slow keel boat sailors.

But it’s wrong my to blame the junior programs.

We are bad at adult athletic sailing, like the Olympics or AC, because our clubs have largely abandoned that type is sailing.  Just compare our sailing capital to Sydney.  On Sydney harbor you have fleets of adults sailing 18 skiffs.  In Newport RI our best college sailors are channeled on to Sonars or sitting on bigger keel boats.  No clubs on Narragansett Bay emphasize adult athletic sailing in boats without lead.

Our adults who want sail 49ers or Nacra 17s - or even antique 470s - must live like hermits and practice alone or leave the country.  
 

Our clubs have abandoned this end of the sport in favor of sailing in a seated position on the biggest keel boat we can afford.  Stop blaming US Sailing or Junior programs.

 
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Couta

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The USA has hundreds of millions of dollars on the mens basketball court....3 players on contracts of over $50 million a year......how do ya reckon the bookies rate them? The lympix is about the investment...follow the money. If you're not getting results, its because you don't value the sport....simple!

 
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fastyacht

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Wha is an apparent wimd boat? I have to trim to apparen wimd om my bullseye justvas mich as i do on my canoe

 
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fastyacht

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Bulger interesting point. Dimghy sailmg is more by class than by cluub.

This is very appatent in 505

 

estarzinger

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The USA has hundreds of millions of dollars on the mens basketball court....3 players on contracts of over $50 million a year......how do ya reckon the bookies rate them? The lympix is about the investment...follow the money. If you're not getting results, its because you don't value the sport....simple!
Money is ofc a very useful tool, no question about that . . . . but we have a gold and bronze in fencing which has F*(K all money.  They do have a few truly excellent coaches, mentors (like Peter Westbrook) and focused concentrated high level club competition.

 On Sydney harbor you have fleets of adults sailing 18 skiffs.  In Newport RI our best college sailors are channeled on to Sonars or sitting on bigger keel boats.  No clubs on Narragansett Bay emphasize adult athletic sailing in boats without lead.
It is way too late at adult sailing if you are trying to build a cadre of world champions

 
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Couta

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Money is ofc a very useful tool, no question about that . . . . but we have a gold and bronze in fencing which has F*(K all money.

It is way too late at adult sailing if you are trying to build a cadre of world champions
Nobody gives a rats arse about fencing...so yeah...it's an outlier. But where there's kudos, there's money...sailing....equestrian....tennis....golf....football....basketball....and of course, where there's national pride, you'll find investment....Like Bulgaria & weightlifting...

 

Frogman56

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Fastyacht,

Maybe "apparent wind boat" could be translated as " boat that uses maximum RM most of the time, upwind and down"

So e.g. moth, 18 skiff, 49er, I14, nacra etc.

The apparent wind reference is to that angle probably not being much greater than about 90 degrees...

 

enigmatically2

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The USA has hundreds of millions of dollars on the mens basketball court....3 players on contracts of over $50 million a year......how do ya reckon the bookies rate them? The lympix is about the investment...follow the money. If you're not getting results, its because you don't value the sport....simple!
Indeed. More grist to the irony mill of americans complaining that other nations have pros against your amateurs. Especially as basketball is a fairly minor sport in most countries outside USA- or to re-use the above expression - most countries don't give a rat's arse about basketball

 

Sisu3360

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If they ever put team racing in the Olympics, college sailing will become relevant pretty friggin quick.

 

Tcatman

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It is meaningful for a lot of people.  It is a cultural tradition of success in US competitive sailing that a lot of people are invested in, spanning many generations.  Some young sailors have so much passion, energy and drive that what you refer to as a "hot house" is an ideal situation where they feel engaged.  It's not for everyone, but some people do want to spend every waking minute in pursuit of a goal, and what better way to do it than spend your life on the water and have that experience with nature?  It can be a very satisfying way to live life.  I found that there was no better place for me to be as a teenager, on a team with friends, striving for success.  I carry a lot of those experiences from that time period as life lessons that serve me 20 years later.  Overall, a very positive experience.  
Nicely done!   This speaks to the Editors front page question  asking Why the Olympics matters at all.  

To this why Sailing Olympics question I would reprise Gary Jobson's point made when he was US Sailings director that the Olympics/ competition captures the Worlds attention every 4 years like no other competition and the  inspiration that this focus drives is sharply focused and shared by the racing community.  The focus was essential.   He noted that he never continued racing in his formative years with an overt goal of Olympic competition... but it was always in the background and created the context for each competitive level that he attained. His pitch was to support US Sailing and the Olympic Team because it will inspire some junior sailors to work at being the best in the world in ways that are not direct.

 




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