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Paris 2024: You can't make this stuff up; here's what the World Sailing Events Committee adopted Saturday as their recommendation to the WS Council

Sunday, May 13, 2018

LONDON (#1009) – If it were a Hollywood script, few would believe it. Indeed, it would be hilarious if it were not so sad. What were, or are, these people smoking?

 

The World Sailing press release your Ed. and other senior-serious media received after today's (Saturday) Events Committee meeting on London included these tidbits:

 

World Sailing’s Events Committee met today at the 2018 Mid-Year Meeting in London, Great Britain with the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition Events at the top of the agenda. The Events Committee were tasked with reviewing, debating and making a recommendation to World Sailing’s Council on whether to retain the Events under review or if new Events should replace them.

 

OK, so far so good.

 

The Working Party [appointed by the Events Committee to draft a recommendation] conducted an extensive program of work to understand the issues relevant for sailing and the sports events programme in the Olympic Games.

 

You don't say.

 

The working party established that it is in the best interests of the sport to strengthen sailing at the Olympic Games. 

 

LOL. How can anyone draft, let alone approve, such a statement of the obvious in a press release of an Olympic Sports Federation? Junior High School student council maybe. 

 

The Events Committee heard from delegates who put [sic] spoke about their submissions before running through the submissions to establish which ones would receive a proposer and a seconder which would enable them to vote.

 

Presumably that means, "enable them to be voted upon." Surely all the submissions had been boiled down to a few that made sense to many? Obviously not....

 

Submissions M09, M10, M11, M14, M16, M18, M22, M23, M24, M28, M34, M36, M42, M43, M44, M45, M49, M56, M57 and M61 all received a proposer and a seconder.

 

WTF! That's 20 submissions moved and seconded, and the Events Committee only has 17 members. So, please, what was the decision? But, wait, there's more. The release continues with more hilarious bureaucratic and procedural gobbly-gook.... 

 

A secret ballot was held and Committee members were asked to vote on which Submission they supported. In addition, the first vote allowed members to vote to retain the existing Events and Equipment that will be used at Tokyo 2020. The first round of votes saw M36 and M45 retained. A run off vote was held between M09, M14, M18, M22, M23, M49 and M57. M18, M22, M23, M49 and M57 were retained. A run off vote was held between M14 and M23 however this was a tie and Events Committee Chair Sarah Kenny had the casting vote and retained M23. This subsequently saw another vote between M18, M22, M23, M36, M45, M49 and M57. M18, M22, M36 and M45 were retained and in the final vote, M36 received more than 50% of the vote and was subsequently approved as the Events Committee recommendation to Council for the 2024 Olympic Games.

 

As I said, you can't make this stuff up. Finally – finally! – the WS press release ends with a link to Submission M36. It's a MUST READ. The summary chart that accompanied the submission....

No wonder they didn't want to write in the release about the substance of the Submission, which was authored by the Events Committee Chairman Sarah Kenny (AUS). It's breathtakingly radical. It runs counter to most of the work done by the Events Committee Working Party and even the President's Late Submission. 

 

As you can see from the chart:

 

+ Seven of ten events are single-handed. 

 

+ The three events that are double-handed are the 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17. The class manager for all three classes is Ben Remocker (CAN), who happens to be a member of the Events Committee.

 

+ Fully five of the events are "New Equipment." Indeed, by all accounts the Laser and Laser Radial will also get new rigs, so, in effect, seven of the ten 2024 events would be "New Equipment." Don't forget, the retained Nacra 17 is new equipment for 2020.

 

+ The five new events are, well, new to say the least. So new that some don't exist in the sport in any significant numbers if at all. So new that the formats are not spelled out in Submission M36 beyond generalities. To wit:

 

Men’s / Women’s Windsurfer Combined – An event that showcases exciting windsurfing disciplines will meet the key objectives of World Sailing and the IOC for an Olympic event. The disciplines should include slalom and may include a long distance race and/ or short course racing or other suitable disciplines, with a combined score determining the places.

 

Or how about this doozie of an open-ended prescription:

 

Mixed Team Kiteboarding - The kiteboard event is off-the–beach and has a number of exciting disciplines, which opens new opportunities to showcase sailing. The kiteboard event could showcase one or potentially multiple racing format disciplines which may include border-cross, speed and short course racing

 

May include? Could showcase one or potentially multiple racing format disciplines? And here I thought World Sailing was supposed to decide the Events this weekend, not just lay out the possibilities. But, the madness continues....

 

A mixed team of one male and one female would compete as a team with the scores of both male and female sailors counting and combining to determine the overall place. The format would be investigated and tested but by way of example only, could be a short track relay style event with short (10 minute) 4 lap courses (men and women alternating). One gender starts, does one lap, then after passing the leeward mark sails into a “change zone” and the other member of the team starts over the wake of the first sailor.

 

Format would be investigated and tested? You are recommending a format that has never been investigated and tested, and offer up "by way of example only" a mixed-gender "relay race?"  

 

The Events Committee is sounding like a certain U.S. Congresswoman who said, famously, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."  And, with respect, sounding equally idiotic.

 

World Sailing Events Committee Chair Sarah Kenny (AUS). Ms Kenny authored Submission 36 that was adopted Saturday by her Committee, over more than 20 other submissions, as their recommendation for the ten Olympic Sailing events for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The WS Council will take up the recommendation at their meeting in London on Monday.

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