How Olympic Success Grows the Sport

Published on January 17th, 2018

Britain’s Ian Walker MBE, double Olympic medalist, America’s Cup sailor and winning Volvo Ocean Race skipper, is now the Director of Racing for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the national body for all forms of boating in the United Kingdom.

With Great Britain on the verge of displacing the USA as the most successful nation in Olympic history, Walker explains how the program seeks to leverage this success.

“The reason we are trying to aspire to be the best sailing nation in the world is we want that to inspire other people to go sailing and that is the reason why I think winning medals at the Olympics is so key.

“Our world-class performance program is underpinned by the support of UK sport and the National Lottery and that enables us to really help all of the athletes perform to the very best of their abilities.

“The attention is now increasingly fixated on the trials process as we’ll be selecting the British Sailing Team in the year prior to Tokyo, and then everything hinges on that performance in Tokyo.

“The team are already incredibly focused on, first of all, trying to work out how we’re going to get venue advantage in Tokyo whether through the weather, the tide, and the resources for the sailors ashore. We’re up-skilling our staff to try and enable them to best support the team in all manners. In short, we’re just trying to help the sailors in every which way we can.”

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