One of Australia’s marquee sporting events is the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race. It’s uncommon to see a sailing event capture the attention and imagination of the country in Australia, but this race attracts huge media coverage and fanfare every year over the summer months.
Around the World in Less Than 78 days and two hours?
Let's take another glance at the Vendee Globe and see how our skippers are doing. A reminder –the Vendee Globe is the world’s most severe mental and physical test of solo endurance sailing. Solo sailors race around the globe, passing through the most hostile oceans of the world without a crew, medical staff or navigational assistance.
'I Am Bolt', the new feature length documentary starring Usain Bolt, shines a light on the nine times Olympic gold medalist's build up to the Rio 2016 games. The film covers all aspects of the athlete's life on and off the track, as he handles everything thrown at him, from injuries to trash talk from competitors.
Filmmaker brothers Gabe and Benjamin Turner lived and trained with Bolt for 18 months, gaining unparalleled access to the athlete’s life. They go behind the confident façade of a man who has less than 10 seconds to prove himself when he competes, revealing anxieties and a range of emotions exposed before and after competitions.
In some moments of the film, the Turner brothers don’t have to do much. At one point Bolt takes the camera and films himself, expressing his frustration, sense of loneliness and boredom - producing a scene directors could never script.
Few sports offer the diversity that sailing does. From ocean to lake, offshore to onshore, every sailing location presents its own unique challenges for sailors. Sailing has strong participation numbers in non-coastal areas of the US, and a new organization in Chicago has some collaborative plans for the sport in the region.
The Chicago Area Sail Racing Association (CASRA) was recently formed to deliver a new style of racing around Chicago’s lakefront. With 18 miles of lakefront to play with, the group intends to launch a variety of events and regattas to boost participation numbers in the area’s boating community.
Solo round the world racing is something that only the hardiest and mentally tough sailors can contemplate. Go a couple of steps further, solo, non-stop, without assistance, and you have the Vendee Globe: a dangerous and demanding race that will take place for the eighth time on November 6th in France. Departing from Les Sables d’Olonn, 29 skippers will race their IMOCA 60s east to west around the world, in a course that takes competitors through the three major capes; Cape Horn, Leeuwin and Good Hope.
Cycling has developed a reputation for the abuse of performance enhancing drugs. It’s a sad statement, but one that few will dispute. In recent decades high profile cases, investigations and court hearings have thrust the sport reluctantly into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Competitive road cycling tours have been the scene for the majority of these cases. In highly competitive, commercial and cut-throat racing circuits, where enormous physical demands are placed on riders, it is conceivable that some athletes would go down this path. Some are caught, some are not, but ultimately it’s the sport that loses
The ultra-marathon is the benchmark of endurance sport and typically an event that attracts only the hardiest and durable of competitors. It’s not an event that big name marathon runners will make a transition to and ultra-marathons are not exactly a spectator friendly sport, but they are the domain of the toughest athletes on earth.
With distances in excess of 150 miles lasting for six to seven days, there are a number of famous events that take place around the world, however some have earned a name as being more brutal than others. This is a preview of the toughest six ultra-marathons on earth.
Pistorius' Record Has Been Broken
An unlikely sprinting champion has emerged from the Rio Paralympics in the form of New Zealander Liam Malone who won the 200m and 400m double, while also claiming silver in the 100m. In the process, Malone also broke the T43 400m world record previously held by convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius. The time of 46.20 broke the previous mark of 46.68 which was set by Pistorius in 2012.
Malone is a double amputee below the knee, but through the assistance of prosthetic blades, he was able to run a time that was just 0.11 seconds outside of his country’s able-bodied record. In the same T43 400m final, silver medalist David Behre of Germany also broke the previous record with his time of 46.23. This proves that 'blade runners’ are getting faster.
The Science of Speed - Olympic Track Bikes Unveiled
The Rio Olympics track cycling revealed a lot about developments in the science of speed. Riding in a velodrome is unique. It is indoors, so there are no abnormal conditions to deal with, like wind or an uneven surface. This means that riders' times can be close to identical race after race. Teams pour all their effort into getting every ounce of extra speed and performance from the bike setup because of this. Materials, clothing, weight, and aerodynamics all work together in the pursuit of tiny gains.
At Rio this year, Great Britain had their most successful performance at an Olympic games, and much of that success was built on the extraordinary performance of their cycling team. Team GB completely dominated the men’s and women’s track cycling, winning 6 gold metals out of 11. Everyone in the squad returned home with at least one medal. Their performance was so comprehensive that rival nations have questioned their methods. So how did a team that hasn’t been on the world stage since London 2012 do so well?
Funding and Support
The GB cycling team was the highest funded of all nations, receiving US$39.4 million for a four year period, which is almost twice as much as other teams. Australia was second highest at US$23.5 million. This level of funding has received criticism in the UK for favoritism ahead of other sports, however the results have been telling. The funding served as the catalyst for the most cutting-edge research across any sport. Cyclists rode on US$13,000 bikes developed in secret at Cambridge University by former Jaguar F1 team boss, Tony Purnell. They wore skin-suits that analysts predict add five per cent performance gains, and their activities on and off the track were poured over in pursuit of the smallest gains. Nothing was overlooked, from square vs. rectangular pillows and seat angles to shaving body hair