Greek documentary " Champions of the Wind " by Pavlos Tripodakis


The imminent release of the 60 minute Greek documentary " Champions of the Wind " (Ta Paidia tou Anemou) by Pavlos Tripodakis with English subtitles is something to get excited about.

It takes us all by surprise as it charts the recent history of Olympic Sailing success since the ex-King Constantine's Dragon crew first won Gold in Rome in 1960. With real anecdotes from those days such as Kaklamanakis' "at the finish line in Atlanta I was all alone ... in a protected bird sanctuary ... With only seagulls and basically my life has changed ... A Gold medal winner..I move into another dimension")

Through a clever narrative we are introduced to all the characters in his book; characters like Olympic Gold medalists Sophia Bekatorou and Nikolas Kaklamanakis. The diary entries are interspersed with live footage of the whole Greek National team in action either at the July 2014 open 470 class European event, at the September 2014 ISAF World championships in Santander or during training at home.

We meet the young Garyfallo whose mother won't let him get involved with sport because of her fear of drugs and substances. We follow him and his football throughout the film and watch his interest in sailing grow. The messages are many and valuable.

As each member of the team speaks, we are shown the lonely road they have chosen to fulfil their dreams. Sophia Bekatorou repeats, "we will not change our ethos nor our beliefs. That is who we are and as long as we believe in Greece we will fight. That's just how it is...)"


There is poor organisation and little financial support from the state. Foreign teams arrive ready to compete with an army of coaches, strategists, physiotherapists and nutritionists. The Greeks make their own arrangements individually and usually tap family and friends for help, or work three jobs to make ends meet.

Champions of the Wind speaks eloquently for the resilience of Greek sailors and their supporters in the competitive world of sailing. Throughout the film we are shown the ideal sailing conditions prevalent in Greece, the deep blue of the sea but the ultimate question is asked by the self-exiled Greek coach, Ilias Mylonas, "It is the eternal Greek paradox. How do we get such good results in the face of such adverse conditions?"