wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2

Most Read: Sports

http://www.washingtonpost.com/2010/07/06/ABMK8PP_linkset.html
2012 Heavy Medal London
Posted at 04:21 PM ET, 09/22/2011

2012 Olympic sailing course controversial

From The London Telegraph

British Olympic sailors have pleaded with London 2012 organizers to forsake spectator viewing positions for decent sailing courses at the Games venue in Weymouth and Portland.

Team GB sailing manager Stephen Park said spectators would much rather be celebrating a Great Britain victory than be able to see a fourth-placed finish from close up.

The issue has arisen because the final courses being considered are close to the cliffs off Nothe Point in Weymouth which creates turbulent conditions if a northerly wind is blowing.

Park said the organizers were trying to strike a balance of satisfying the spectators while not impacting on the racing or affecting the results.

“We won’t know how successful they are until after the Games,” Park said. “But I think sporting performance will come first. Some days the spectators may not get quite as good a view, but they would want that and then celebrate medals, rather than finish fourth.”

The first athlete selected for the 560-strong Team GB, three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie, who had to bulk up an extra stone to fight off a fierce challenge from Giles Scott for the solo Finn berth, said he was prepared for any conditions.

“If there is prevailing sou-westerly winds it won’t be too bad a course, but if they are northerly or nor-westerly then I hope there is a sensible decision. I hope they run a fair race course,” Ainslie said.

“Off Weymouth and Portland the winds are offshore more and a medal race course near the spectator hill means the winds are blowing directly over the hill. This produces turbulent and confused winds which is no good for sailing at all.”

The first athletes officially ratified for Team GB were Ainslie in the Finn class, Paul Goodison (Laser), Bryony Shaw (RSX), Nick Dempsey (RSX), Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush, Kate Macgregor (women’s match racing), Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (Star), Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (470 women).

Of the 26 Olympic sports, only Great Britain’s rhythmic gymnastics team, which has to finish in the top 16 at the world championships, has yet to qualify for London.

By Jacquelin Magnay  |  04:21 PM ET, 09/22/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company