Gary MILKIS, Producer of BOB's sailing coverage, said, "This award goes to an exceptional crew made up of professionals from around the world. We had excellent cooperation from ISAF who allowed us great access and an always open line of communication. Also, a first class venue and some great weather that made for exceptional images."
The award is particularly notable for sailing as this year the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was the most watched Olympic Games ever, with broadcasts in more territories than ever before (over 220) and an estimated potential audience of more than 4.5 billion people. A number of innovations, both to the format of the competition and from a technical perspective, meant TV audiences had better view of the sport than ever before.
The Medal Race format, introduced by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) in 2005, was used at the Olympic Sailing Competition for the first time. In each of the 11 sailing events the battle for Olympic medals came to a finale with a double-points scoring 'Medal Race' for the top ten competitors only.
ISAF President Göran PETERSSON said, "The new Medal Race format proved a key element in the success of sailing's TV coverage at the Beijing Olympic Games. This latest award is further evidence that ISAF's decision three years has helped take the sport forwards."
At Beijing 2008, sailing was broadcast in high definition for the first time, with live broadcasts of all 11 of the decisive Medal Races beamed around the world. Along with Producer, MILKIS, Christopher LINCOLN was Director of BOB's Sailing Coverage and Henry MOK was Coordinating Producer.
Jerome PELS, Secretary General of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), said, "This is fantastic news for the sport and great reward for all the efforts of the BOB team in Qingdao. I'd also like to thank the Sailing Sub-Committee of BOCOG, who worked in cooperation with ISAF to realize the potential we know sailing has as a televised sport. And of course, great thanks to the IOC, who have continued to support ISAF and sailing by investing in the personnel and the technology to bring the sport to life."
PELS said the Olympic Golden Rings was the latest in a series of positive signs for the sport's TV performance at Beijing 2008. "We are delighted that sailing is recognized for these awards. Just as important though is the evidence we are beginning to see of the positive growth in TV audiences. The TNSSport report of Olympic TV performance in the UK and China commissioned by ASOIF, placed sailing as third sport in terms of total Olympic TV audience in the UK and fourth in terms of top sports programme. The report also indicates a TV audience in China of over 10 million people for the Windsurfer Medal Races - a fantastic improvement on figures we've seen from past Games."
In total 27 films were in the running for awards across four categories. The films were watched by an international jury, chaired by IOC Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Created in 1976, the Olympic Golden Rings is a prestigious international contest through which the IOC seeks to promote and recognise the best TV images of the Olympic Games. This contest is organised every two years, on the occasion of the Summer and Winter Games, under the aegis of the IOC Radio & TV Commission.