Ian Walker's Olympic Diary - 12th October


Britain's Olympic Star Silver medallist wraps up his Diary for madforsailing
In my first madforsailing diary, back on September 1st, I started by saying how memorable it was to walk out in the 1996 Olympic stadium in Atlanta. Well, now I have a new memory to surpass all others. Who would have dreamt that Mark and I would not only be presented with an Olympic Silver medal on the steps of the Opera House - but that it would be preceded by our national anthem three times in a row, for the Laser, Europe and Finn classes. The British Olympic Sailing Team scooped three Gold medals and two Silvers in our most successful Olympics ever. It wasn’t that any of the medals were a great surprise - we knew we had the potential - but it was the fact that so many went so well, in such tricky conditions. So why were we so successful as a team? There has been a lot of talk about the Lottery funding, but many countries are well funded and did not succeed. Two sailing superpowers - Spain and France - came away without a single podium finish. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that having sailors able to compete full-time, without financial worry, was a major factor. But much credit must also go to the RYA and the OSG (Olympic Steering Group) for their management of resources and their ability to work out what was the best approach for each individual class and each individual sailor. Their once-criticised selection procedures are now being applauded. I would also like to give credit to all the coaching staff, tune-up partners and support people, who all contributed to their own particular classes but also to the excellent team morale. Everybody genuinely wanted everybody else to do well, and everyone can feel proud that the team did so well. There’s a more sailing

VISITORS