It is essential that everyone faces the fact that the Olympics are unique.
Every time ISAF faces the challenges of the Olympic Regatta and alters the regulations the sailors react either positively or negatively according to their own experience level or bias.
The following are some of the ways the Olympics are different from the normal regattas everyone competes in:
|Happens once every 4 years
||Intense Media involvement
||ISAF responsible for all Technical
|IOC picks the venue
||IOC and NOC involvement
|NOC selects the athletes
||MNA's only recommend
|Venue Open for 4 weeks, with venue access limited
||Everything on site free to sailors
|Large spectator fleet
||Large number of coach boats
|Classes are the equipment
||Class rules do not govern
||Random measurement daily
|ISAF controls all racing
||2 ISAF Pros on each course
|28 ISAF Judges
||On-the-Water Rule 42 Judging
|12 Days of racing
||Only 2 races a day (except 49er)
|Limited number of countries
||Only 1 boat per country
|Sailors limited to 400
||Men, Women and Open Events
|Two Test Events
|Dope testing daily
||No Drop Race
|Mark by Mark reporting
||No coaches electronics
||Coach boats responsible for teams
|Large country flags on sails
||Large country letters
|Large National team support
||Controlled media access to sailors
|Completely equipped containers
There are several other issues which make the Olympics unique. The sailor's results in the Olympics Games is usually the springboard to a productive professional sailing career. The Olympics are also important to the MNA's as it usual dictates the level of government or NOC funding. Therefore the Olympic pressures are severe.
Another issue that must be addressed is the need to ensure that there is no altering of sails after measurement. All sails should be impounded after each race and there should be no sewing machines allowed in team containers.
The Olympics Games are a media event and ISAF must compete against 28 other sports for the media exposure ensuring that this challenge is met. This is reality.
ISAF must diligently tighten their regulations so as to ensure that the "Olympic Scandals" which have impacted other sports do not happen to sailing. ISAF must err on the side of ensuring that not only is it clean but appears to be clean. ISAF must act immediately to the Olympic pressures as they arise and cannot defer to four year cycles.
If those restrictions put stricter restraints on the sailors than they are used to then that is the price they must pay to be Olympians. The same holds true for Classes who choose to be Olympic.
Non-Olympic Sailors should realise that their classes or events need not be impacted by the regulations required to ensure Fair Sailing and the integrity of the Olympic Regatta.
They must choose for themselves how they sail. ISAF sets very wide guidelines so as they can enjoy sailing as they wish.