Friday, August 8, 2008

Compression, Multitasking

If time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once, it's not working.

First came the simple comment from our U.S. Finn rep, Zach Railey, "Talk to you once the Olympics are over."

Just like that.

Just like a lunar orbiter disappearing to the far side.

Then it was looking at the sked and seeing that here in my California Friday, I can watch the Opening Ceremonies on TV beginning at 1930, continuing to midnight.

At the same time I can watch Finn and Yngling racing online.

Already I'm looking at the knockout opening ceremony pics that are floating around the net. No more of this waiting-waiting . . .

It's all pop and sizzle . . .

And silliness taking off . . .

You will be guarded and you will like it . . .

But those soldiers have to sleep somewhere when they're off duty . . .

For me it's all about Qingdao. My people. First up, Finns and Ynglings.

Coverage begins live online at 1000 Pacific and I'm glad I'm not watching from the East Coast but I know I'll have plenty of company in those quarters.

As I write, we have hours to wait, but I picture myself sitting in front of the tube and NBC (no, I don't get to go to Qingdao, but I did get four months in Spain before the Euro rocketed out of sight) and I'll have a laptop humming along, simultaneously following the racing on broadband through

Everything happening at once.

Having the US Sailing Team pass through San Francisco en route to China—spending time with them, picking up their excitement and energy—I'm charged up and emotional and anxious.

Zach was one of many sailors who skipped the Opening Ceremony because his racing starts too soon after. He watched about half the ceremony from Qingdao and then hit the sack. Ditto for Sally Barkow and her Yngling team, and our 49er guys who kick off on Sunday. (New Zealand did not send any of its sailors to the stadium in Beijing).

Laser rep Andrew Campbell was one of those whose schedule allowed him to make the trip away from Qingdao. Beforehand, he wrote: "I am forcing myself to take days off from sailing and tapering my training routines. I’ve reached my fighting weight of 168 pounds for the first time since I was about sixteen years old. Luckily, that’s the weight at which I won my first Youth Champs in Seattle in 2000."

Pretty much every Olympic sailor has trimmed weight in anticipation of predominantly light air at Qingdao, so all they've done in that regard is orbit around parity. But for each individual, it was necessary. Then comes the "what if" we see a day with 20 knots and the race committee runs three races and after that the weather shuts down and we don't get to sail a full sked? Too many what-ifs, but our sailors have had to consider them all as they lay out training, strategy and (in the more complicated classes) appropriate gear.

Abner Kingman shot this for US Sailing as the team passed through San Francisco. Looking good, looking good . . .