SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Sailing: Is there a recipe for sustained Olympic success?

Olympic glory is the ultimate honor in most sports. Sailing is no different.With athletes waiting fou...

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 4:06 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 4:06 PM

Olympic glory is the ultimate honor in most sports. Sailing is no different.

With athletes waiting four years for an opportunity to win a coveted gold medal, competition is tough and the stakes are high.

Continents and regions

Europe

Northern Europe

Olympics

Sailing (sport)

Sports and recreation

Sports events

United Kingdom

Water sports

Sports figures

Ben Ainslie

gold medal

Food and drink

Leisure and lifestyle

Two years out from Tokyo 2020, CNN's Mainsail visited the World Sailing Championships in Aarhus, Denmark to discover if there was a secret recipe to Olympic success.

'Revolutionary' funding

As unromantic as it sounds, money certainly helps when it comes to winning on the global stage. The British team are the perfect example.

British Sailing's Director of Racing Ian Walker accepts the introduction of funding from UK Sport in 1997 was a catalyst which "revolutionized" the team.

"People were able to sail full-time, so it effectively professionalized the sport. Suddenly you could just concentrate on being the best sailor you could possibly be," he told Mainsail.

Read: US challenger aims to 'reinvigorate' US sailing

Read: Japan's sailing body apologizes for dolphin show at World Cup ceremony

The injection of money catapulted Team GB years beyond its rivals and the evidence suggests it helped in the race for medals.

They're now the most successful nation in Olympic sailing history, topping the all-time medal table with 28 golds.

Notably, 12 of those have come since the 2000 Sydney Games.

Many nations don't have pockets as deep as Britain, though. These teams have to be clever in order to maximize their budgets.

By only pumping resources into sailing classes where they can excel, the Dutch, for example, are able to target their funding at athletes they believe have a chance of success.

"We don't want to be a copy of Britain, we thought about it and we would definitely lose," Head Coach of the Dutch Olympic Sailing Team, Jaap Ziehuis, explains.

"Without funding you can't get the right equipment, you can't hire the best coaches, you can't afford to go and train at the important venues. So money is very important."

'Talent gets you about 50 percent of the way'

Funding is clearly a big stepping stone to achieving Olympic glory but there's more. You also need a a genetic disposition to be good at a certain sport.

"You can become top 15-20 in the world by being a machine. Just going out training hard, lifting weights, being really strong in your head," two-time US Olympian Paige Riley told CNN.

"But in my mind, to be a top three, to be bringing home medals, it takes a special something inside a person."

One man who seems to personify the power of innate ability, is Ben Ainslie. With four golds and one silver medal, the Briton is the most decorated sailor in Olympic history.

He showed his world-class potential at an early age, competing in his first international event aged 12. But you'd be wrong if you think he's ever rested on his natural-born ability to secure gold medals.

"Raw talent gets you about 50% of the way," he told CNN. "Hard work, graft and dedication is what you need to finish the job off. You can't rely on talent alone.

"I've raced against a lot of incredibly talented sailors ... and you look at the ones who consistently win and they're the ones that go that extra mile, are that bit more focused, determined, preparation is that much better."

Read: Extreme Sailing: Experiencing "Formula One" on water

No such thing as talent

This is a view taken to the extreme by Dutch Olympic medalist Marit Bouwmeester.

Fast-tracked through a talent program in the Netherlands, Bouwmeester won Laser Radial gold at the 2016 Games. She believes her success is simply a result of hard graft.

"I don't really believe in talent," she told CNN. "I think you should just enjoy what you do and it's just hard work and dedication. It's just putting in the hours and doing more than anybody else."

A golden combination

Author Owen Slot, who studied Team GB for four years following London 2012, believes the recipe to success involves a combination of the above factors.

"You have to be genetically blessed, you have to have innate talent," he told CNN.

"You have to have seniors around you, parents or coaches, who can see your talent and help you exploit it. You have to understand high performance, you might look good in your village or town but are you going to look good on the world stage?

"You have to have all of that around you. Then you have a chance of winning a gold medal. If you take away one of those then I think it's done, no chance."

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Florence
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 61006

Reported Deaths: 738
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby13423223
Davidson13162143
Rutherford352539
Hamilton330538
Sumner189756
Williamson170816
Knox15919
Trousdale15085
Out of TN138410
Wilson114817
Putnam10117
Bradley9594
Robertson92413
Sevier9153
Unassigned9102
Montgomery7327
Lake6970
Tipton6967
Bledsoe6291
Bedford6239
Macon5977
Hamblen4724
Maury4543
Hardeman4114
Fayette3685
Madison3522
Blount3403
Loudon3322
Rhea3150
Dyer2913
McMinn27619
Cheatham2693
Washington2610
Dickson2580
Lawrence2326
Cumberland2134
Sullivan2104
Anderson1952
Jefferson1821
Lauderdale1804
Gibson1771
Monroe1556
Greene1512
Smith1502
Coffee1410
Cocke1360
Hardin1257
Warren1230
Obion1192
Haywood1183
Franklin1163
Marshall1152
Wayne1150
Carter1031
Giles1031
Hickman1030
McNairy1011
Marion944
Hawkins862
Lincoln860
DeKalb850
White853
Roane810
Overton721
Henderson710
Weakley701
Campbell691
Claiborne680
Grundy652
Chester630
Unicoi590
Grainger560
Polk550
Carroll521
Crockett523
Henry510
Cannon490
Sequatchie490
Jackson470
Johnson460
Humphreys392
Meigs380
Perry370
Morgan311
Decatur270
Fentress260
Scott260
Stewart260
Union250
Moore210
Clay200
Houston200
Benton151
Hancock110
Lewis110
Van Buren90
Pickett70

 

 

Community Events