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A Wild Call by Martyn Murray
A Wild Call by Martyn Murray

Sailing is New Zealand's most successful Olympic Sport

by Virginia Stracey-Clitherow, Yachting New Zealand on 9 Oct 2000
Sailing is New Zealand's most successful Olympic Sport

"Yachting team can hold their heads high" says YNZ CEO
"Barbara Kendall and Aaron McIntosh's bronze medals at the Sydney Olympic Regatta
makes sailing New Zealand's most successful Olympic sport in the last two decades"
says Yachting New Zealand Chief Executive Simon Wickham.

Speaking after the yachting team returned home this week amidst a wave of criticism
aimed at the NZ Olympic team, Wickham is adamant that the yachting team can hold
their heads high.

"Of the eighteen sports in which NZ sent Olympic reps, sailing achieved eight of NZ's 20
best finishes across all sports, and half the medals" observes Wickham.

Ability to finish in the top ten of the world was a requirement of the Yachting New
Zealand Olympic Selection Policy. In the final count, New Zealand sailors in eight of the
11 sailing events finished within the top 10 of the Olympic fleets.

Wickham continues, "we will always hope to see every sailor return home with a medal
round their necks, but the Olympics is the toughest competition our sailors will ever

"Winning an Olympic sailing medal is not simply a case of achieving a personal best.
We'll always want a medal in each event and we set the qualification criteria in our sport

"There is no doubt that every member of the New Zealand yachting team went to Sydney
to win a medal. To suggest that they simply 'did not try hard enough' is an insult" he

Adds Wickham, "the level of resources other countries had dedicated to their sailing
teams was staggering, and New Zealand sport needs to be aware of what our athletes
are up against."


Sailing is the NZ's most successful Olympic sport in the last 20 years (since 1980):
Yachting 13 medals (including 4 gold)
Equestrian 9 medals
Canoeing 7 medals
Rowing 6 medals

Sailing is now NZ's 2nd most successful Olympic sport overall - NZ sailors have won 15
Olympic medals, including 6 gold since NZ was first represented in yachting in 1956.

Athletics leads the NZ medal table with 18 medals - all won between 1908 and 1976.

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