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Is sailing too exclusive for the Olympics?
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Aug 14, 2012, 2:59 PM

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SAILING IS TOO EXCLUSIVE FOR THE OLYMPICS
By Bomani Jones, NY Times
After seeing the majestic diversity of the Olympics' Parade of Nations, a
visual representation of the best of the Olympic ideal, the last thing I
want to watch is a sport where the biggest determinant of success is being
rich. I could ask for many sports to be removed on this basis, but I'll go
with sailing because ... well, who wants to watch boats that don't make
lots of noise?

O.K., I can do better -- what does sailing embody that anyone loves,
specifically, about the Olympics? Where is the simplicity of the event that
gives the impression that anyone could participate?

You need to be of a certain class with special access to sail. In an event
that celebrates inclusion, it is the most exclusive. Even with sports like
swimming and rowing, which cost too much for many, anyone could,
theoretically, participate. There's nothing stopping someone from doing
backflips and the other staples of gymnastics.

Sailing? The name of the game is access. The touching human interest
stories that buoy NBC's ratings for the Olympics are somewhere between rare
and nonexistent. It's clearly an activity for a particular class stratus
and, given how overwhelmingly white the Olympic participants are, it's
clearly not the world's game.

If the Olympics is going to wrap itself in touchy-feely stories, it's hard
to get behind sports that are so obviously exclusive. If the Games are
supposed to bring the world together, we can do without sports that do the
opposite. -- http://tinyurl.com/NYT-081212

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you care to disagree with Bomani Jones, you can find him
at SBNation.com, where he writes and stars in a YouTube show called "Bomani
& Jones." He's also a regular contributor to ESPN's "Around The Horn."
Bomani's Twitter account is @bomani_jones


The Publisher
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Aug 14, 2012, 3:00 PM

Post #2 of 7 (14258 views)
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From John Longley:
Regarding the story by Bomani Jones about removing sailing from the
Olympics (Scuttlebutt 3653), I am always surprised by people who have media
access thinking this gives them a right to comment on something they
obviously know nothing about.

On the same basis it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the
subject of access to sailing in the US but from an Australian point of
view, sailing is open to anybody who walks in through the gate of any yacht
club in Australia.

My yacht club, the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth, has a bosun at
a table just inside the gate, who makes a point of finding a crew position
on a boat for Saturday afternoon sailing for anybody, whether they be a
sailor or not, whether they are a member of any yacht club or not -
anybody.

Any child who wishes to sail has simply to walk in at any time and ask to
be involved and they will be welcomed and encouraged to take up the sport.

I came from a fairly humble background and my family had no interest or
contact within the sport. I was one of those kids who wandered in the gate
and I ended up sailing in five America's Cup matches.

I believe the situation is very similar in the UK, and as Australia and
Great Britain have finished on top of the sailing medal tally, I suspect
access is one of the contributing factors.


From Carl Boller:
I am trying hard to understand why Bomani Jones article in the NY Times was
even necessary, let alone worthy of publication. Just what we need is more
divisive and, yes, racist commentary. What's the point?


From John McNeill, San Francisco:
Although I am quite sure that Mr. Jones rant about sailings exclusivity has
brought him a wealth of reactive connections, it is sad to see the state of
journalism brought to such a low level. Mr. Jones cannot be so obtuse as to
believe what he has written, so one must conclude that his aim is to engage
with the audience with a radical and unsupportable rant in hopes of
rejuvenating a languid career.

His need to do this is understandable, but he might be better served
considering a change of career to something like mortgage brokering. On the
other hand, the New York Times should be ashamed running this sort of
diatribe under their once esteemed banner. Journalism really shouldn't be
tainted with such blatant prostitution.


The Publisher
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Aug 14, 2012, 3:01 PM

Post #3 of 7 (14257 views)
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From Russell Streeter:
There are many words I could use to describe Mr. Jones' article, but the most appropriate would be "lazy". "You need to be of a certain class with special access to sail." Nonsense. Maybe it's that way in Durham (though I doubt it) but around the world, small, affordable boats such as Lasers and Optis have allowed access to anyone with an interest in water. He seems to be using sailing as a proxy for a baddie in the culture wars. It's a lazy way to make copy on a Sunday afternoon.





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Aug 14, 2012, 3:02 PM

Post #4 of 7 (14255 views)
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An unpleasant letter that was published in Scuttlebutt caught me by surprise. In all the years that I have fervently read Scuttlebutt, with great interest I may add, this is the first time that I have been offended by such a narrowed minded viewpoint. I am referring to Mr. Bomani Jones' comments. Being one that is neither rich nor possessing an affinity for noise, qualifies me to respond.

There is not enough space, nor do I have enough time to expound on all that embodies racing sailboats. The fact that anyone can participate is the only prerequisite that I am aware of. Local sailing clubs, community sailing programs, high school and college teams and yes, yacht clubs offer instruction and guidance to one of the most enjoyable activities I know of. Please take notice of my rankings of venues. Olympic level racing is the ultimate reward that is achieved by excellence, excellence that is pervasive throughout all Olympic competitions.

Any activity upon land or water that promotes skill, sportsmanship, teamwork, dedication and competition among all class strata, is something that is worth pursuing and should be encouraged. Sailing does not promote biased perspectives.

I suggest Mr. Jones find an avenue that leads to a sailboat and eventually racing sailboats. He can even wear a pinky ring if he so chooses.


Respectively,


John J. Ford
Falmouth, MA




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Aug 14, 2012, 3:04 PM

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I think Mr. Jones need only look at the pictures you have on your site from the Claggett disabled regatta to get every one of his gross misconceptions cleared up!




W. Andrew Shea
New York, NY 10022


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Aug 14, 2012, 3:04 PM

Post #6 of 7 (14252 views)
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Bomani Jones needs to reevaluate. Or we need to chuck equestrian, skiing, shooting, fencing, water sports, kayaking ,or any other sport that has costly equipment. The only thing stopping people from going sailing is lack of desire and the attempt to get involved. Most sailors are inclusive and if someone makes attempt to get involved, they usually can. Bomani must be taking cues from our affirmative action classist himself since he writes for the editorial division of the DNC.


Howard Bentley





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Aug 14, 2012, 3:31 PM

Post #7 of 7 (14249 views)
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Commentary by Olympian Carol Cronin: http://www.boats.com/...-its-olympic-status/


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