I just finished an article for The New York Times on the proposed Olympic sailing slate for the Rio Games in 2016. Of course it’s difficult to even document a sneeze in 1000 words, so missing from the article was some context regarding what’s at stake if the Star class, where the world’s best sailors race, is eliminated, and if a sport like kiteboard racing is chosen over the established event of windsurfing.

US Kiteboard Nationals, Olympic future?

The short of it is, ISAF, the governing body of the sport globally is making an attempt, as the America’s Cup is doing using technologically advanced, super fast and exciting boats, to appeal to a broader audience. Having more women athletes and even more unique, coed classes, is even more exciting to the storylines journalists and TV commentators can portray.

Here’s a quotation that didn’t make it in the article but shows another viewpoint:

“We are studying every option to have the Star back in the Games,” said Ricardo Baggio, executive officer for the Brazilian Sailing Federation, in a phone interview Monday. “It is so important for us to have our best sailors competing here in 2016 because the public will have national heroes to support. Everybody knows them. Robert is on TV advertisements every day.”

Baggio, a very open and passionate sailor, added that Guanabara Bay in Rio has finicky winds and is challenging for kiteboarders. The US is also very invested in the Star class but the reality of Christophe Dubi’s comments from the IOC is that history and politics really don’t seem to have as much of a bearing on relevance at the games, more, value added.

No country was deeply invested in “snowboard cross.” An event under the skiing discipline, this less-than-technical event was a boon for the Vancouver Winter Games. That is the reality of the games, says Dubi and others and it seems like an exciting future. As for sailing, the future looks more exciting than ever. At least visually. Now it’s our turn to dig and find the stories of the people and their process like we relate to so plainly in all the other events at the Games and in professional sports.

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