VIVE LA FRANCE! What an amazingly brilliant and dominant performance by France. Never has any nation been so completely dominant in Paragliding competition since... uh... since uhmmm... well since the Swiss fairly recently I suppose. Well whatever: VIVE LA FRANCE!!
There I was being all pompous in my suggestion that the French had let things slip a little. Nary had the ink dried on that scribble and they stormed the top ten with a vengeance as though the suggestion of their fallibility was intolerable! I withdraw my slur unreservedly! In my defence, I did tag Julien Wirtz as one of the favourites, but I guess so did everyone else right?
A french 1,2,3 in Maxime, Honorin & Julien as well as the ladies' podium with Laurie. Truly magnificent! Yassen almost upset le Tricolore triumph when he handed out flying lessons during the second last task jumping to within 27 points of the lead. It was not to be as a desperate last task favoured the dogged determination of the ultimate victors. It was fitting that this years' champion was the only pilot to make the end of speed section on the last day sealing an undeniable and emphatic victory leaving no-one in doubt about who deserved to win the most prestigious event of the year.
Two of my other picks made top ten (Francisco 4th & Andreas 9th) with Juri near the top too.
Now for those who suggest that the result was inevitable given that almost a third of the field were flying for France I say: Pish Tosh! They have become far and away the top paragliding nation systematically crafting a method of identifying and developing talent relentlessly, and shaping them to be champions. Other nations have done this in the past, but never on the same scale as far as I am aware. Except for individual brilliance displayed by members of other nations, we can expect to see more and more French pilots dominating.
They may not play Rugby terribly well, but the French definitely know how to pull the strings!
Comp Controversy & Crucifixion
A number of people became increasingly critical of the organisation particularly during the first week when we did not fly at all. The Oludeniz glider mishap resulted in a disproportionate degree of vitriol and invective.
I was at the receiving end of rhetoric on several occasions: Hey Andre! why have you not crucified the organisation on you blog yet? They are useless! So I sat and thought what was bad about the organisation.
I asked what this particular person thought was bad and the conversation went something like this:
Angry Pilot: They keep screwing up!
AndreR: What do they keep screwing up?
AP: Well, like everything man!
AR: Really! Like what?
AP: The Oludeniz thing... and we're not flying you know
AR: and what else?
AP: well they don't communicate properly
AR: Isn't that the PWCA's job?
AP: Well I guess it is...
AR: and we vote for the PWCA committee right?
AR: so it's our fault then right?
AP: what are you like a lawyer man!!??
This brought to me to the following conclusion:
Semih Sayir might not have gone to De Bretts finishing school, but that he is a competent organiser is unquestionable and completely beyond doubt.
If he was so bad then what are we doing asking him to run no-less than TWO super-final competitions in four years? Why on earth do we vote him onto the PWCA committee and someone please put me out of my misery and tell me why we have trusted him as observer and organiser of pre-world cup and world cup events a dozen or more times in the last decade?
I'll tell you why! If you want to fly in Turkey, which can be full-on-hardcore-racing-in-ferocious-conditions, then you better have Semih there. He appears to be on first name terms with half the population of Turkey and he will be the one to scrape you up when you smear your sorry arse across a rock face. Also, who do you think will calm down the locals when you get into trouble because you can't hold your liquor? or Who will get you to the airport at 2am because you saved fifty bucks on a cheap seat?
Now that is not to say we should not find the Semih-Final pun hilarious or tease the hell out of Semih for the EPIC Oludeniz fail. BUT!! lay off the man about his comp organisation skills. His type are a rare species and I for one cannot fathom why he would repeatedly put up with so many whining paragliding prima donnas such as I!
The world cup belongs to the pilots by definition. If we, who are privileged enough to participate, are supposed to be the very best in the world and if we represent the leadership in our sport, perhaps we should behave with the demeanour befitting such high accolades... N'est ce pas?