Feb 8, 2018

HendersonJust to put it in historical time warp I was a World Sailing Vice President 1976-1994 and President from 1994-2004 representing Canada and the RCYC as well as Olympic Technical Delegate from L.A. 1984 - Athens 2004.

World Sailing is now going thru a major reassessment of Olympic Classes where the major focus is on "Technology" not "Talent". (Editor’s note: the daunting expense of newer boats like the 49er prohibits many sailors from participating.)

Paul Henderson OLY

To A Few:

In the History of Olympic Sailing we were very clever in picking equipment that allowed different sizes of sailors to compete and with different talents. Sailing is a weight sensitive sport.Other sports like Boxing or Wrestling had weight classes where you had to weigh in.

Sailing cleverly accomplished it by picking the equipment.Olympic Single handers had Windsurfing that for the men was up to 70 kilos, Laser up to 85 Kilos Finn for over 85 Kilos. Brilliant concept.

We also had Doublehanders that appealed to different sizes and shapes and even gymnasts with trapezes.470 M and W had small skippers with medium weight gymnastic crews.

We then cleverly had Keelboats where all the heroes gravitated to after graduating from the FD and the Finn. I sailed the Star at 75 kilos and my crew was 90 kilos.Then we had the 3 personYngling for women.It also cleverly allowed sailors to compete at different ages as Sailing is a "Sport for Life".

Long before the IOC decided to have "Gender Equity" if you add up the medals Sailing had the same number of Medals awarded for Women as for Men. 3 person women Keelboat offset the Heavyweight Men and the two person Star both were the Class organizations, which all classes emulated and were the foundation of Sailing.

Sailing never got credit for being way ahead of the IOC on Gender Equity.

Sailing had also gone from only 20% women in Savannah 1996 to over 40% in Athens 2008 by cleverly picking the classes.

This program also had the result of having strong well-administered International Class organizations thattranscended international borders that developed a very good stable regatta circuit such as Hyeres, Miami. CORK,

Medemblik, Kiel, Palma, Melbourne, Qingdao and on on and on.

Sailing also demanded stability so to change a class was very difficult, as the Countries had developed their athletes.

Changing classes shifts the focus to the wealthy countries and destroys the sailors’ dream of being Olympians.

Then disaster strikes as those in control, some from other sports, decided that they knew better and are focused on"technology not talent" and new monopoly driven equipment is sold that change is what our traditional sport needs. Every new equipment gimmick has tried to swing on sailing to become Olympic and ride on that largesse.

Let them ride on their own merits not destroy our sport which is happening.

The sailors have become only the jockeys not the raison d'etre of Sailing. Olympics must be for the athlete.Sadly the IOC is complicit in this destruction, in fact the leaders.

I challenge the sailors to take our sport back although it may already be too late.

Regards,
Paul Henderson
A Very Old Proud Olympian

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