New Zealand's Ferocious Gliding Grand Prix

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You might suspect that watching a sailplane competition -- even in a spectacular setting amid New Zealand's rugged Omarama mountains -- would be about as exciting as watching a lawn bowling match. But at last week's Gliding Grand Prix there may have been some who strongly disagree. A week's worth of daily press releases painted the televised event as: "tense ... dramatic ... challenging ... historic ... competitive ... adrenalin-charged ... thrilling." The excitement included one finish with multiple aircraft crossing the finish line within seconds of each other. It all finished up yesterday, with New Zealander Ben Flewett taking first prize. "Aviation and television history was made in Omarama this week," said Grand Prix director Peter Newport. "We have created an exciting new spectator sport, the repercussions of which will filter out around the world. I firmly believe if this weekend's coverage is anything to go by, people will soon be glued to their television screens following one of the world's fastest, most skilled and compelling sports." Hey, if they can get bazillions of people to watch golf tournaments on TV, why not?