Monday, July 03, 2006
Last Days in Croatia
The Europeans ended with a bang on Thursday. After the British team filed a protest the second to the last day, they cancelled the last day of flying because they couldn't find (or didn't want to find) a way to prevent guys from cheating by going over the 7000ft ceiling. It was a bit sad and disappointing not to have a final task. But, what was more disappointing was the behavior of so many pilots at the prize giving the next day. There was so much animosity toward the Brits for filing the protest and as a result, having the last two days canceled. While I understood the frustration on both sides, I thought the behavior of some was so very childish and unsportsmanlike. During the presentation of the team medals, the French (apparently in protest against the Brits, who received the bronze) walked up onto the stage, took their medals and then walked off again. They wouldn't stand on the podium with the Brits. This, of course, was after continuous whistling (which I guess is the equivalent of our booing) by the Swiss team who felt they were robbed of the bronze medal by the protesting Brits. It was about the most disrespectful thing they could have done and I found it rather tasteless. The Brits were fed up with pilots cheating by breaking the altitude restrictions and it seems many of the others (the French and the Swiss) felt like they should be allowed to do as they pleased, despite the disparity between those who cheated and those who chose to obey the rules.
The bottom line is that I don't know what the solution was exactly. But, to those who have the integrity to follow the rules that are laid out for the competition, it is disappointing, to say the least, to watch others cheat without consequence. I thought that cancelling the day wasn't exactly the right decision. Instead they should have simply punished only those that were breaking the altitude restrictions and not the entire field. However, according to a few reports this wasn't feasible because at least 20 pilots did not have 3D GPSs and so their flights/altitudes couldn't be verified. Plus, it would have been somewhat burdensome for the organizers to check every single 3D GPS. The only fix for this would have been either to never mention the rule in the first place, or be prepared to actually punish the cheaters. Seems the organizers just couldn't find the courage to do this.
Anyway, in the end the Austrians won the team Gold and young Michi won the individual goal. Here are a few pictures of some of the happier pilots ;-)
at 8:57 AM