The Sultanate of Oman has competed in every Olympics since 1984, but is still yet to win a medal. No big deal since 72 countries can say the same, but now Oman is getting serious. And like the old saying goes: if at first you don’t succeed, put all your resources into a single sport.
That sport is apparently sailing.
More than half of Oman’s border runs along the Arabian sea, so the ministry of tourism and Oman Sail have developed a youth program aimed at teaching kids teamwork, leadership, and confidence through sailing. It’s also an unabashed investment in winning the country its first Olympic medal.
“We are targeting the youth to get involved with sport because of the
positive values associated with sportsmanship,” says Oman Sail manager Rashid al Kindi. “Achieving success in sport helps drive national pride and self worth. Our message to parents is let your children come sailing because it is good for them.”
The program, which includes intense clinics taught by some of the worlds best sailors, hopes to draw around 70,000 Omani kids to sailing by 2020 with the goal of winning a medal in 2024. And while the clinics will emphasize fun, safety, and general good vibes, the best kids will be identified through a strict selection process to start five person national youth teams beginning as soon as next year.
Those teams will hope to compete in the the 2014 and 2018 Youth Olympics, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships (which Oman has bid to host in 2016), and eventually the Olympics. Add up all the investment, time, effort, and experience and we wouldn’t be shocked to hear the Omani national anthem when the 2024 Games finally come around.
Look close at Mikaela Shiffrin as she steps into a race start gate for the first time in eight months on Oct. 17.
Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion, plans to wear a helmet with two special stickers on the back.
She’s donned the first decal for years — the initials ABFTTB, which stand for “Always Be Faster Than The Boys,” a personalized autograph motto from retired Olympic Alpine skier Heidi Voelker.
The new sticker reads, Be nice. Think first. Have fun.
Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.
After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”
Be nice. Think first.
When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.
“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”
She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.
Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.
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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …
Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)
Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174
Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51
Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39
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