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Olympic scene vibrates with …. Well… what actually??

So with only 1 month to go and about everyone who fought for it, now knows whether he’s going or not.
Relieved, exited, desillusioned, crashed, focussed, stressed, these all are emotions that go around during these last days before the Olympics in Athens start.

Some of the things everyone here right now is talking about is the so called heat adaption and the bad weather in germany and europe. To put it gently… for most of us here it’s hot… very hot. Oh, and almost forgetting…… As you can see the Greeks are still building, and building and…..


So what happened to me, lately? Personally I’m one of the happy few that’s not doing the coaching bit but only the preperation bit. 
Happy? After a bit, Yes. I had to get used to the idea when the decision took shape. 
In the team I’ve coached over the last 2 years, I’ve always tried to get the focus on team-decisions that are best for the boat, and not for the indivudual; and this was one of them. 
Over the short time we learned that my role was more like a pool of new knowledge for them, organising new projects and giving them new strategic insights. 
However nice new things are, at critical regattas it took us too long to find the right wavelength and with only so much (or little) time we decided to take it a touch slower and try it with an former coach, which actually worked. 

So right now in july I’ll prepare the last bits with them in Athens and during the Olympics they’ll work alone. 
As a National coach I’ll be checking the new German talents for the 2008 Olympics during the 470 youth worlds in Lake Garda….

A reader asked me to give some thoughts about “the emotions after Olympic qualification”.. This really gave me a worry, since I had no time or idea on where to go with this untill I had a chat with a collegue that is around a while, and we started joking about the old days. That actually gave me the idea for this article to just showing the readers some of the little types this olympic scene has and you’ll fill in the emotional picture yourself. That’s basically even more fun.
So here are some of the “olympic classics scenarios”:

“The long qualifier burn out” 
After the long dreading and by federation twice extended qualifier procedure, this mostly emotional sailor finally makes it. Relieved and burned out, does he mounts his horse up to Athens with 1 or 2 months to go, finally he can order his new sails and boat and starts thinking about this event…. Do I need to go further?? 

“The early qualifier” 
Being the only one in the nation to have a (political) satisfactory sailing level to be qualified by the National Federation and NOC, this sailor knows about one year ahead that his entry for the Olympics is going to be accepted. Far ahead will he try to make the best possible praperation and tries to find a balance between lokal water training and attending the classes circuit. Mostly you’ll see that the sailors that spent a lot of time in the Olympic basin developed a model of what wind, waves and current is about to do. With all dangerous consequenses accordingly.

“The outsider” 
This is mostly a sailor hardly noticed by the crowd or the big fleet and suddenly they find themselves qualified and preparing the olympics. Sometimes, during the Games, when they start well, they can really surprise everyone.

“The dino or Bulldog” 
This type of sailors are in the class too die with it, and they will keep on going untill they’re the only ones left. They’ve seen about every crazy little thing in, on and around the boat and have had of course every injury which comes with their class. And they want to do it “just one more time….. “but this time the right way….”

Then there is this new “breed”. The so-called “yachties” (professionals… but who isn’t anymore these days?) that sail the “lot of zeroes projects” Volvo, AC, etc. and do an olympic campaign between projects. Most of the time they impress by their quick presence in the top of the fleet, their simple and conservative way of sailing, and often seem to have a lack of time in the end to really pull the whole thing through.Or get it finished in time….either to get to the Olympics or really cash in the medal. Because anything else is failure…….of course…..

So these were some of the scenarios and types of sailors that will go and have their presence at the Olympics. 
Please understand this right. I don’t mean to insult anyone I just want to give the readers more insight of our little “world”. 
Whatever happens and whoever wins, I congratulate you all and have the greatest and deepest respect, since for sure it’s been a long and crazy way.

One thing I want to make sure to all you guys out there in Athens in august. 
“You guys are selling our sport. So go out there and show them all you’ve got, and then again, a little more. Show them what we sailors are. A crazy bunch that can “dance on water with some cloth on a mast, in wet, hot and crazy conditions”. Get us on the screen as much as you can, and get the word out: Sailing’s Great, Sailing’s Greater, Sailing’s the Best!!!”

Good winds

Rigo de Nijs

Do you think you have an interesting subject for the next article?, mail Rigo 


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