It's the Olympic Games


Ed Gorman considers what the four yearly extravaganza means
There are some varied dishes on the menu of international sailing, but none more delicious than the Olympic regatta. After a wait of four long years, the unique drama of Olympic sailing is about to be played out once again. For some, dreams will come true, but for so many others, those same dreams will evaporate or, worse, turn into nightmares. The moment you walk into the superb venue at Rushcutter's Bay on Sydney Harbour, you are reminded in so many ways that this is not just any old sailing event, but something special. The security at the various gates is intense, no matter how many times you go through or how familiar you become to the volunteers manning the metal detectors. Once in, you notice immediately that it's all been beautifully thought out. Just on your right is a doping control facility - imagine that at Cork Week. Then there's a dedicated weather centre where a team of six meteorologists beaver away from four in the morning to seven at night, producing detailed forecasts for each of the six race course areas. There are designated eating areas for the 800 uniformed volunteers who help venue manager Glen Bourke and his team run the event. There are designated eating areas for the 402 sailors from 69 nations who are here to fight for 11 gold medals. There's a massage tent, a massive press office and a boatpark which is more like a science laboratory than the usual happy chaos of a club facility. Journalists are allowed into the hushed atmosphere of the boatpark but only at certain times and with special passes hanging round our necks. It's a place to observe the last throws of a four-year obsession. There are precisely dressed sailors arriving precisely at the time they need to for the

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