Aug 9, 2012, 9:54 AM
Post #6 of 9
From Ed Simmons, Buffalo, NY:
Re: [The Publisher] Elvstrom and Ainslie
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I have been following the comments on Olympic sailing, lack of good results from North America, and Ben Ainslie vs Paul Elvstrom. First of all, Ben Ainslie and Paul Elvstrom are from different eras but the overall level of sailing is more evenly (and extremely) high now across countries compared to 50 years ago. So it is not right to think Ben Ainslie accomplishments are not incredible, to say the least.
As far as sailing medals for North America, I can say that sailing is more competitive one design in Europe compared to North America, across all ages. An example is the Dragon class where regularly 80 boats will show up for very competitive racing with many former Olympic sailors. In NA, the racing is more big boat/handicap-a very different type of racing.
From Andrew S. Macaulay:
Certainly, when someone of Bruce Kirby’s stature speaks, we all listen. However, with regards to the comparisons being made between Paul Elvstom and Ben Ainsle, no doubt, winning an Olympic sailing medal is an achievement without equal in this sport, in any era.
Indeed, in today’s era, with the proliferation of participation at the Olympic and near-Olympic level, one could argue that competition is at an all-time high. This is in part due to the Olympic adoption of craft like the Laser (thank you Mr. Kirby) in lieu of past favorites such as the Soling (and now Star) with their high cost of entry. Sailing is no longer quite the elite endeavor of yachting that it was in the age of Elvstrom, making Ainsle’s accomplishment all the more impressive.
What we should now be asking, no pressing Ainsle on, is how we, the sailing public, can get him to go for his 5th Gold in Rio! Because, by one measure, Elvstrom and Ainsle are equals- call it the “Tiger Slam” of sail- 4 golds each...who will be the first with 5? The book is not closed on his achievements and a 5th gold medal would be a fitting cap to his great run.