Australia's Greatest Sailing Official Ross Wilson is on his way to the London Olympic Games!
Ross Wilson is recognised as one of Australia's greatest Sailing Officials of all time. Officiating at 3 Olympic Games and 3 Paralympic Games, Ross is highly renowned and an integral part of the International Sailing circuit and has been a committed race official for over 30 years.
Sail Melbourne is privileged to have Ross and his twin brother Kevin (another of Australia's International Sailing Officiating Greats!) lead the team here at Sail Melbourne year on year.
On his way to this year's London Olympics we questioned Ross on how he became involved in Race Management; his most memorable moments as an Olympic Sailing Official and what advice he would give to any aspiring Olympic Race Officials wanting to be part of the sailing international circuit and the Olympic movement in the future.
Ross Wilson Q&A
How many Olympic Games have you been involved with?
After this year I will have been involved in;
- Three Olympic games - Sydney 2000, China 2008, London 2012
- Three Paralympic Games - Sydney 2000, China 2008, London 2012
- 2010 Inaugural Youth Olympics Games Singapore.
How long have you been involved in Race Management?
My introduction to race management at the international level began in 1982 with the OK Dinghy Worlds at Black Rock Yacht Club, Melbourne. Prior to this I was involved with the State and National championships at Black Rock Yacht Club, commencing around 1978.
How did you become involved in Race Management and what attracted you?
Everyone at the club (Black Rock Yacht Club) was rostered to do some on water activities as duty crews. It was an opportunity to get involved in the sport when not sailing. I get a lot of pleasure in being involved at my club and participating in the Club’s activities.
What do you enjoy most about being an Olympic Sailing Official?
The enjoyment and company of my peers along with the opportunity to be involved in the sport at the highest level.
What’s your greatest memory as an Olympic Sailing Official?
Tom King and Mark Turnbull crossing in front of the USA team at Bradley Heads in the final race of the Sydney Olympics on their way to winning gold - I was the race officer conducting the event (no bias here as Tom & Mark came from 10th place to cross in 1st place). The Sydney Olympics was so special as the location and sailing was close to spectators all around the harbour.
The friendship and hospitality of the Chinese during our time in Qingdao for the 2008 Olympics and Paralympic games is also another memorable experience of mine.
Do you have any advice for aspiring officials wishing to one day attend an Olympic Game?
Firstly, obtain your International Qualifications and never give up in submitting your application to be involved at the highest level as you need to be recognized on the international scene. Secondly get involved at your club in the Race management side of the operations - It can be as a course layer or finisher and thirdly just be on the water helping out.
For aspiring officials can you provide any advice on the pathway to officiating at the Olympics - Courses, Experience and Skills Required?
One must travel and preside over events away from your own club, away from your own state and where possible outside your country. The pathway requires all persons to be qualified at the international level. This in its self is not easy to obtain and at times does require you to self fund yourself to some overseas events. Never be shy when asked to take on duties outside your comfort zones. Walk the boat park and get to know as many competitors as possible. They may be the inspiration you need to get you the next event.
Every race day at your club is a little further down the line to becoming the next official at the Olympics!!
Image - Ross Wilson Olympic Sailing Race Official
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