Thursday, 20 November 2008

Judging the Olympics | 2

This week part two in our series about Olympic Judges.
You can read the first part (and the intro) in last week's post : Judging the Olympics | 1
One of the world's youngest IJ's, Sofia Truchanowicz, was at the Olympics for the very first time in Qingdao. She is a very knowledgeable judge from Poland and a nice person to boot. This is what she wrote in answer to my questions:
Dear Jos,
Great idea! Please find my answers in red below.
Best regards, Sofia

Q1-- How long where you an International Judge before you were invited to go to an Olympic Event? Perhaps you can tell something about your experiences and what you think is needed to be an International Technical Official?
A1-- I have been appointed as an IJ in 2004 so I have never thought that 2008 will be the year of getting the Olympic experience. I think it is very important to have your goals and step by step improve yourself to finally achieve them. As long as you do it with passion you are on the best way to make your dreams, even those Olympic ones, come true.
Q2-- Can you tell us about the differences between any Grade 1 event and the Olympic competition, from a Judges point of view?
A2-- It is a tricky question. As to be perfectly honest I must admit that Grade 1 event or ISAF Worlds for AOC are much more difficult regattas in terms of your physical and timing engagement. Due to bigger size of the fleets, races are tougher and days on the water longer. On the contrary Olympic Games have totally different specifics. There is definitely more pressure in the air, as every move you make and every decision you take, have much more impact on the outcome of the game. It is a little bit like a whole world looking at your hands. Nevertheless, it is still the same job you have to do out there. Therefore as long as you behave as you would normally behave on any other event, you are not overwhelmed by psychological and outside factors.
Q3-- In "normal" International events CAS does not get involved, but it has in the last two Olympics. Does it change the way you do a protest hearing?
A3-- I was not involved in any of the later-on CAS hearings, but it is true that every hearing you have during the Games, is done as it could end up in the CAS. This in turn makes you more focused on the procedures and proper way to deal with them. I guess Olympic Games require your concentration one hundred fifty percent in this field. However, as long as you run a hearing according to the rules and required procedures, you can sleep calmly (at least in parts ).
Q4-- The Olympic Sailing event is the most filmed and photographed event of all. What is the influence of that on your work?
A4-- You cannot hear your own thoughts ( just joking.. ) Although the helicopter noise can be tiring. As long as you focus on your normal work you do not pay too much attention to their presence. Nevertheless, you still keep in mind that your move is filmed and it wouldn’t be nice to see yourself next to the pumping competitor with no reaction from judges point of view. It wouldn’t be too professional, I suppose....
Q5-- What did you enjoyed the most about the Olympics and what disappointed you?
A5-- Atmosphere! That was the best part. The people around you (see other Jury members ) were fantastic. We had time for work and time for laugh. You could always count on their support and criticism and that made you feel really comfortable. Our Chairman, David Tillett, has done a remarkable job to keep all the pressure away and to give us a feeling to be an important part of this regatta. I learnt a lot and I am very happy and grateful to have a chance to meet such a wonderful people. Disappointment? I guess only lack of wind, but it was known from a long time before so you cannot complain…
Q6-- Do you want to do the next Olympic in 2012?
A6-- I presume this is a rhetorical question? Of course I would like to, but only if I was good enough. I had my chance this year and no matter what will happen in 2012, I already have unforgettable memories.
Q7-- Anything else about this Olympics you might want to share with readers of my blog?
A7-- Guess just to say thank you… to all the Olympic Jury for showing us (Olympic beginners ) what real teamwork means.



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