Royal Yachting Association race director Ian Walker hopes a new documentary on the British sailing team will shatter elite stereotypes of the sport.
The feature film ‘Chasing Tokyo’ follows Walker and his charges as they prepare for Tokyo 2020, an Olympic Games thrown into uncertainty by COVID.
It also highlights some of the brightest figures in British sailing who come from a variety of backgrounds, all determined to carry on their country’s sparkling heritage in the sport.
“I think the perception a lot of people have of sailing is that it’s incredibly elite and that’s just not the case when you look at our athletes on the Olympic team,” said the two-time Olympic medalist who will move from the RYA to North Sails. on August 1, 2022.
“And I think you can really see the context and start to understand, sometimes it’s quite grim in terms of the pressure athletes are under, which I’m sure is true in many other sports.
“I like to drive home the idea, there were real people working incredibly hard, not getting the rewards, in fact the complete opposite, of what you get in other sports.
“But what we get from sailing is something very different from the fact that we get a very rich experience, in terms of knowledge and teamwork, resilience, and dealing with weather, challenges and boat technology.
“And you get the most out of your teammates, even if you’re on your own, working with all the different people who contribute to your performance.
“So that’s one of the reasons why I really want my children to go sailing. Not because I want them to necessarily win gold medals, but because it’s so good for their personal development and for their characters.
“I think sailors are generally incredibly well-rounded people who I think are then very well placed to move into other areas of life.”
Team GB finished top of the sailing medal table with three golds, one silver and one bronze each at Tokyo 2020. The film will be released on July 28 on Olympics.com. To watch the trailer, click here.