However, sailing cannot depend on the venue or its popularity in Europe to lift it back into the good graces of the IOC. The Olympic format needs a drastic overhaul.Before I get into that, though, a short treatise on the Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius, which translates to Swifter, Higher, Stronger. Unstated, but equally as important, is a proviso that could read, "
when it counts." The Olympic archives are loaded with supremely talented athletes who, for whatever reason-luck, nerves, adverse conditions, bad seafood, etc.-came up short on the medal day, and with stories of slightly less-talented athletes who, for that same day, were the best in the world. This is what makes the Olympics so engrossing and it's part of what makes sailing one of the least-watched Olympic sports. The current Olympic regatta format, with 11 races and one throwout, allows for too many second chances, and is too effective when it comes to removing luck from the equation. Consider the Finn regatta in Athens. Ben Ainslie, the reigning world champion and a heavy favorite, opened with a ninth and a DSQ. In most other Olympic competitions a start like that would've sent him packing. But Ainslie merely dominated the next four races (three firsts and a fourth) and was in first place with the regatta barely half over. He won the gold by 13 points. It wasn't even a dramatic comeback.