Fair Sports are the only way

Larry Ellison has won the America’s Cup in sailing by playing fair. He is a fine example for us all.

Larry Ellison has won the America’s Cup in sailing by playing fair. He is a fine example for us all.

• Topics: Leisure,

Its a good day to be a Yank. In sailing, our American trimaran sailboat - a monster of technical innovation at 90 feet long and 90 feet wide with a hard wing sail over 200 feet tall - has beaten the Swiss defender cleanly in the best 2 of 3 races. The America's Cup races were clean 8 minute and 5 minute victories off the coast of Spain on Friday and Sunday. This contest has gone through over two years of legal challenges and very confused processes. To even sail the second race was a miracle as the Swiss cheated again in trying to scuttle the race.

The America's Cup is one of the oldest sporting competitions in the world and is the pinnacle of sailboat racing. The American sailor, Larry Ellison, won and he did it by fair play, adhering to the rules and going all out to build the best boat and organize the best team to run it. The Swiss, who were defending, spent over two years trying to cheat their way to a win. For those of us who like fair sport it has been a sickening process to follow. The Swiss, a guy named Ernesto Bertarelli, inherited a couple billion dollars and decided to be a sailor. He almost turned the America's Cup into a joke.

The beauty of the outcome is Larry won in true American fashion: no cheating, no bragging, no lying and no insulting the Swiss; all while Ernesto did all this in spades. We Americans spoke softly and sailed the faster boat. Even at the victory press conference, Larry spoke well of the Swiss. At their press meet, Ernesto continued to make excuses and lecture the Americans.

Now we will probably see the America's Cup return to the West Coast - to San Francisco or more probably to San Diego - the mecca of American sailing. We will again have exciting sailing by the world's best sailors. Many other sailing countries are quite pleased we Americans took the cup away from the Swiss. And now we have a chance to show how a fair and open sports competition can be staged.

I write this as the Vancouver Olympic debacle continues. The International Olympic Committee makes its sports more important than the people it is for. It restricts the freedoms of the participating athletes and the citizens of the cities it stages its games in. While the athletes are incredible and the sports are spellbinding to watch, the Olympic Committee is hell bent to maximize the potential profit and dominate the world of sports in the future. It is a long term threat to good sporting competitions. The barring of women ski jumpers by the Olympic Committee is only one of many examples. The restrictions on speech are less reported by mainstream media.

Sports are important and healthy for civilized people. More is spent on two Air Force jet fighters than was spent in two years on the America's Cup. Ernesto and Larry spent their own money, not public money. Those who are sailors had a fun time following the races these past few days. But as exciting as top end sports are, providing opportunities to all kids at every age and skill level is even more important and worth all the cost. More on that another time. The point of all this is that we need sports on every level and we need to keep sports clean, fair and open to all. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity to civilized living.

For now, the sailing world celebrates a great victory by a classy American team. We tip our hat to Larry Ellison, Russel Couts, John Kostecki and James Spithill for an bringing the cup back to the USA after 15 years away.


Late note:  Forgot a very cool local connection.  The winning trimaran was built in Anacortes and much of the tooling was done in Sedro Woolley.  Incredibly high tech fabrication is something we do well in the Northwest.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

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