Worthington bids to become training ground for Olympic hopefulsWORTHINGTON — When members of the U.S. Windsurfing Association’s (USWA) board of directors met last fall in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., one of their topics of discussion was developing a site for Olympic windsurfing hopefuls to train. The biggest impediment to such a dream was finding the funds to make it possible.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — When members of the U.S. Windsurfing Association’s (USWA) board of directors met last fall in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., one of their topics of discussion was developing a site for Olympic windsurfing hopefuls to train. The biggest impediment to such a dream was finding the funds to make it possible.
“The conversation was centered on the United States, Canada and perhaps Mexico combining the Olympic sailors into one group (and) providing competent sailing instruction,” said Bill Keitel, a Worthington resident who serves as vice president of USWA.
When Keitel returned home to Worthington, he approached Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors Bureau about creating the Olympic training in the community.
The request was that the Chamber would provide incentives to help bring “master trainers” to Worthington to help train Olympic windsurfing hopefuls.
In late May, Keitel received word that, yes, the CVB was willing to do what it could to further the cause. Now, he’s simply awaiting approval from the USWA.
“It’s currently being taken under advisement with U.S. Windsurfing. It’s been received with quite positive reaction on all sides,” Keitel said.
“The exciting thing for Worthington is an Olympic training camp would be a great benefit to Worthington’s promotional quiver,” he added. “The benefits to Worthington would be that we would have Olympic-class sailors come to this community to train for specific periods during the summer.”
Keitel said there wouldn’t be hundreds of sailors coming to town like during the Regatta, but those that would come to train here would be “in search of endeavors and aspirations.”
The USWA board of directors will meet in Worthington during the 2008 Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival next week. Keitel hopes to get approval from the board at that time to locate the Olympic Training Center in Worthington.
If that happens, the wheels would be set in motion as quickly as possible.
“Considering that the Olympics are going on this summer, if it happens, and if it happens in Worthington, it will probably be in the summer of 2009 (that sailors would begin using the site), though planning would begin immediately,” Keitel said.
The USWA would need to hire master technicians to teach the classes, and Keitel said they have yet to work out other details like logistics, training and funding.
“I think it’s a great benefit for U.S. Windsurfing and for Worthington,” he said. “If Worthington can rise to this occasion, I think it would be a benefit to both the city and the organization.”