Aug 12, 2021
After the most exhausting, hazard-ridden madness imaginable, our Canadian Olympic sailors are back home safe sound and proud. It’s tough to find words you already haven’t heard many times to describe what it took to get to Tokyo and do well. All six of our entries hit it out of the park; medals are nice but we don’t require them to appreciate the remarkable accomplishment.
Not only were the games delayed a year, held against a backdrop of a pandemic and an unbearably hot Japanese summer, our sailors had a duffel bag, make that five duffel bags full of other obstructions.
Fundraising, logistics of transporting boats half way around the world and preparing for brutal conditions were just a start. Training was upside-down for the last two years. Example – the medalists in the Laser Radial class were all Europeans. How do you train against them when you’re locked down and travel doesn’t exist? The 49ers have to bring their own boats. Which airlines can do that? The list of challenges goes on and on.
This all starts with Canada having some handicaps before the game begins. Our weather, compared to New Zealand or Spain is not hospitable. Our athletes compete for funding in ways other nationals need not; most have a huge fundraising effort to even begin a program.
On top of all that, we saw first hand the mental and emotional challenge that competition takes on a high-level athlete. Gymnasts bailed, others broke down. Emotional burnout is yet another huge stress that is probably more common than we knew.
These may sound like excuses, but they are simply hurdles and that’s what champs do. And they did. Solid showings for all of our 2020 sailors and great potential for the future of our Team.
At CY, we are committed to getting behind our sailors and helping them toward Paris 2024.
Canadian Yachting Magazine