Sounding the alarm on costs to compete

Published on February 24th, 2022

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
It was a popular story after the 2018 Winter Olympics in which Norway was, again, the dominant nation. They lead the historical medal tally, and the country remained on top of the medal count at the 2022 Games. But it is how they do it which has people mystified.

Reports on their approach highlighted how children are encouraged to join local sport clubs to help with their social development but there’s strict rules which prevents anyone from keeping score – no one can be ranked first to last until they turn 13.

“We want them to be in sports because they want to be,” said Tore Øvrebø, head of the Norwegian team. “Instead (of winning) they want to have fun and they want to develop not only as athletes but as social people.”

Imagine that! A development program focused on loving the game.

Conversely, the organization of youth sailing in the USA has multiplied the number of international events that kids pursue, along with frequent trips across the country for training and competition. There’s also the investment in scholastic sailing to pursue entrance for some prized university.

For those young people with Olympic aspirations, it is a question whether the simple love of sailing had been instilled in them. The constant climb of mountains leaves little time to enjoy the view, and when they age out of the youth treadmill, what enduring connection to the sport did they build beyond youth boats and age-based regatta formats?

Following the Beijing 2022 Olympics, a story by the Wall Street Journal addressed the immense cost of the USA approach toward winter success, and it isn’t too difficult to see how this also applies toward Olympic sailing: click here.

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