Although Britain's most successful Olympic sport why is it still not taken seriously?


Will sailing ever be taken seriously as a sport? It’s supposedly the second most popular participator sport in the UK but it still seems to struggle to rid itself of its elitist image. Not only it is popular, it is also, by far, the UK’s most successful Olympic discipline with a total haul of five medals, including two Golds, at the Athens Games. And now Team GBR come back from the pre-Olympic regatta in Quingdao with an unprecedented total of five Golds and one Bronze.

Now I accept that as a sport it is not in the same league as, for example, athletics. But why does it not get more recognition? On the very day that Team GBR captured their last two Golds in Quingdao there was a discussion on Radio 4 about Britain’s not very bright medal prospects in the China Games next year. The conversation went along these lines. “Well we do seem to do better at some minority sports like archery and, errmm, curling.” We’d probably be good at darts and snooker if they were Olympic ‘sports’. But how many sailors are there for every curler or archer?

Picture shows the Qunigdao golden Yngling girls, Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson. Picture by onEdition