The Season Before the Games
Published on April 21st, 2019
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Following the 50th anniversary edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar on April 1-6, which annually attracts a massive turnout among the 10 Olympic Classes to Majorca, Spain, not everyone’s schedule had them traveling to Italy for the World Cup Series in Genoa on April 15-21.
This is a continuing problem for the circuit launched by World Sailing in 2008. While the events deliver a high level format and organization modeled after the Olympic Games, and promote the competitors through media, including live broadcast of the Medal Races, the World Cup has struggled to find placement amid a busy calendar.
Eight of the 10 events (no boardsailing classes) were in Genoa for a week that endured excessively light winds. For those that passed on attending, I suspect they were somewhat relieved at their decision.
Among the North Americans, most of the top competitors passed on the events for which the continent is strongest – Laser, Laser Radial, and Finn. The results elsewhere were mostly predictable, with the lone medal in the 49erFX Women for Stephanie Roble and Margaret Shea (USA) – a bronze as their best ever World Cup finish.
As the final full season before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, countries that have yet to gain an entry slot are focused on those qualifiers, and for the countries that have earned their position amid the fleet size limitations, this year is about selecting their best representative. In the four year Olympic cycle, it is now getting very real.