Olympic sailor shuns Comm Games in favour of SuperFoiling
OLYMPIC gold medallist Nathan Outteridge says he will have little interest in watching April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as sailing remains on the outer.
Not yet officially recognised as an optional sport on the Commonwealth Games program, sailing has been a medal winner for Australia at four of the past five Olympic Games.
Australia claimed two gold medals at Sydney in 2000 in the men’s and women’s 470 and another two in the same events at Beijing in 2008, before Outteridge and Iain Jensen led the charge in 2012.
They claimed gold in the 49ers at London, with Australia defending its men’s 470 title and Tom Slingsby winning the laser class.
Outteridge and Jensen then won silver in the 49ers at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 as Tom Burton claimed gold in the laser.
“You look back to the London Olympics and sailing won the most gold medals of any sport for Australia,” Outteridge said.
“If that’s our No. 1 sport in the country on an Olympic level, if you actually introduce it into the Commonwealth Games similar things will happen.
“I’ve done three Olympics and obviously sailing’s in the Olympics and I think it’s a great sport to have.
“(But) all I’ve known is sailing is never in the Commonwealth Games so we sort of write it off and think that’s never going to be an option for us.”
Outteridge admitted he would find it difficult to follow the Commonwealth Games in April without his beloved sport in the program.
“It definitely detracts from the interest of it, for sure,” he said.
While the beachside Queensland city and thousands of athletes prepare for the multi-sport event, Australia’s best sailors are instead travelling around Australia for the inaugural SuperFoiler Grand Prix.
Outteridge headlines a starstudded list of sailors competing in the series, having combined with Jensen and America’s Cup-winning skipper Glenn Ashby to make up Team Euroflex, in what’s been labelled the dream team of the six-boat series.
The team remains undefeated through 15 races — seven in Adelaide and eight in Geelong — ahead of the third regatta on the Gold Coast starting Friday.
The series then moves to Busselton in early March before the final regatta in Sydney later next month.
Outteridge said this weekend gives Australia’s elite sailors — which also includes Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price — the chance to highlight their sport to the Commonwealth Games-hosting city.
“I think what will happen is that everyone up on the Gold Coast getting ready for the Commonwealth Games are going to see this craft, sailing around Broadwater, and probably think, ‘Why aren’t these in the Commonwealth Games?,” Outteridge said.
“We’ll have six boats up there this weekend sailing around and hopefully they’ll see what sailing is all about.”