When mega-billionaires run a “sports” competition of their own among themselves (or why some mega-billionaires can’t join in any common-man sport)

Oracle AC 45's Practice

Oracle Team USA practicing

What will surely end up as the biggest flop of a sports event is unfolding in the San Francisco bay: the 2013 America’s Cup. The America’s Cup is a regatta played among a handful of very rich men who like to sail but who couldn’t seem to effectively communicate with each other. Of the 12 possible entries in the race, only four are ready to compete – eight teams have refused to sign up or have withdrawn because rules and conditions do not suit them.

The 2013 America’s Cup took the better of two years to put together. The regatta starts with a Challenger Series between July 7 and August 30. The event’s finale takes place September 7 through 22. The four competing teams include defending champion Oracle Team USA and challengers Artemis Racing of Sweden, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Luna Rossa Challenge of Italy.

The Italian entry is threatening to withdraw unless certain conditions are met, while the Swedish team might not be ready to compete on the day they are scheduled.

Safety is a real concern. Oracle’s first 72-footer pitch-poled last year, heavily damaging the yacht, after only eight days of sailing. In May this year, the first 72-footer Swedish team Artemis’ boat flipped resulting in the death of an Olympic-medalist crew member. A lot of promises for improvements have been made but not all minds are at ease. Some people believe the boats are just not safe to sail under the conditions of the race.

We may end up witnessing only two teams competing, thus scuttling almost three-fourths of the entire schedule of races. All of this just goes to show that these rich men know very little about sportsmanship. That’s probably why they have this game of their own.

About Julius Willis

A former Philippines newspaper publisher and businessman, Julius resettled in California, USA, where he simultaneously worked as an instructional and technical writer and engineering department manager and taught college for 26 years. Now retired, he serves as a member of the Alameda County Housing & Community Development Advisory Committee. He also served as a member of the City of Hayward's General Plan Task Force and the city's Planning, Personnel, Citizens Advisory, and Community Services commissions.
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