International Day of the ‘Opti’ Girl!

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Tina Lutz (GER) Olympic 49er Silver Medal – 11 October 2021

International Day of the Girl provides an opportunity for us to confirm that the strength, health and empowerment of girls is important in our future.  If we empower girls ….everyone benefits.

Opti girls are strong, resilient, and talented.  The results of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics illustrate that girls who participated in past IODA World and Continental Championships can become Olympic Champions.

At the Tokyo Olympics all the women boat helm medallists had earlier participated in an Optimist World or Continental Championship. Six of ten of the winners of the Girls’ gold at Optimist Worlds 1995-2007 later won Olympic medals.

Optimist Gold Medal                                Olympic Gold Medal

1995-6 Lisa Westerhof (NED)                   470 2012

1997 Siren Sundby (NOR)                         Europe 2004

2001-2 Xu Lijia (CHN)                                Radial 2012

2003 Hannah Mills (GBR)                          470 2016-20

2004-5 Tine Lutz (GER)                             49erFX 2020

2007 Alex Maloney (NZL)                          49erFX 2016

As we celebrate International Day of the Gilrl, lets all help the next generation of girls get the experience they need so that they too can go on to become Olympic Champions like the girls and women before them.  The Optimist Class prides itself that our class is gender equal but getting girls started and keeping them sailing is a challenge. We need to do more to encourage girls to stay sailing. We challenge our Members to raise the bar and bring more girls to our IODA events, so that they too can gain the Opti experience needed to inspire them to stay in the sport of sailing in the future

Remember if we empower girls ….everyone benefits!

Article first published on the IODA website