April 3, 2012 § 2 Comments
A version of this article is featured in Spinsheet’s Start Sailing Now brochure.
If you want to stump your sports-minded friends at a party, ask them these trivia questions:
- What is the only sport in which an American family team has won an Olympic gold medal?
- Who was on the team?
If you are a sailor, your friends may guess the sport, but they probably won’t be able to name the athletes. Father and son Paul and Hilary Smart won a gold medal for the U.S. in 1948, sailing in the Star class. It’s a family feat not since repeated, in any sport, summer or winter.
If you want to further dumbfound your landlubbing friends, ask:
- Has any other family team of any nationality ever won Olympic gold?
- Who was it, and in what sport?
You’ll get nothing.
It happened in sailing, of course. Charles James Rivett-Carnac and his wife Frances won the gold medal for Great Britain in 1908 sailing their 7-meter. Today, Charles remains the oldest Brit to have won an Olympic medal in any sport. He was fifty-five.
Here’s the point. Sailing, unlike any other activity, is both age and gender agnostic, even, arguably, at its pinnacle. It is unique as the one great outdoor experience done recreationally and competitively by parents and kids and husbands and wives for over a century.