3 May 2012
An AUT University professor has been named as a coach in the London 2012 New Zealand Olympic Sailing Team.
|Sara Winther will be coached by AUT's Professor Mark Orams at the Olympics this year
Dr Mark Orams, a Professor of Marine Tourism, has been confirmed as an accredited coach on the New Zealand Olympic Team. Orams will coach Sara Winther and she will compete in the single-handed women's class (Laser Radial).
“Sara is someone I greatly admire, she has been working incredibly hard to achieve her dream of Olympic success for over 10 years now and I feel really privileged to be part of her team helping her towards that goal.”
This will be the first time Professor Orams has attended the Olympic Games, but says he was lucky enough to do some on-water research on the tides and currents for the 2008 New Zealand Olympic Sailing Team in Qingdao, China in the lead up to the Olympic regatta there.
Not only looking forward to the event for Winther, Professor Orams also sees the event as an opportunity to bring learning back to AUT.
“I look forward to bringing this Olympic experience back into my teaching and learning with my students. Hopefully, having a lecturer who can teach from his own personal experience rather than from a textbook will make it more interesting for them.”
For Professor Orams the Olympic sailing event is a fascinating case study of a significant and high profile marine tourism special event too.
“In comparison to all other Olympic events which are held in stadiums or in course areas made or adapted for competition, the sailing event is the only sport that is based in the natural environment. It is, therefore, subject to the challenges of different currents, waves, wind, marine debris, marine animals and so on. It provides unique challenges not just from a sporting perspective, but managing the event, security for participants and access for spectators are all difficult.”
Something that will also be interesting to note for this Olympic sailing regatta is the use of technology says Professor Orams.
“All competitors will have onboard cameras mounted on their yachts and live feeds back to the spectators and via the web will make the sailing more accessible.”
He says the roles of teaching at AUT and being a coach are also nicely linked.
“In many ways this coaching role is very similar to my work for AUT as a lecturer and professor. It is about helping people achieve their potential. This is something I have always been drawn to and very much enjoy.”