The lesson of the Olympiad
I answered the question before why they are often the same people who are successful when buying pigeons while others mostly fail.
And I also wrote why a first prize means little to me as long I do not know the strength of the competition.
Once a Taiwanese asked me why I was not impressed about the result of a fancier who won 1, 2, 3 and 5 against 5.000 birds and why I was impressed by the result of a fellow sportsman who won 3, 12 and 15 against 300 odd birds.
The first one entered 73 birds and won 18 prizes only (one per three).
The second fancier only entered 3 birds!
The Olympiad in Germany January 2009 clearly shows what I mean.
Pigeons of countries from Eastern Europe, especially the Polish, had many top positions with incredible results.
It is great for them, especially since the sport over there is booming.
The ranking at the Olympiad may indeed give the impression that Polish pigeons are the best in the world today.
I know 2 of these Polish champions, their methods and their birds and I am convinced that if they would race in Belgium their birds would not win as many 1stprizes against say 200 birds as they did win against tens of thousands of birds in their country, Poland.
At the Olympiad they were 'world champions' but they would not even turn into club champions if they would race in Belgium.
Now you may understand why I raise eye brows when I hear how much money especially Easterners pay for some birds.
Birds that have a good record indeed but' against what kind of birds did they race?
How strong was the competition?
It was back in the 90-ies that I was for the first time astonished by the buying behaviour of some Easterners.
A Dutchman had won a National race from Bergerac (900 kms) against 27,000 birds.
The birds were driven home then by strong tail winds.
A Japanese paid 22,000 euro for the 3 year old winner that had never won a decent prize before.
Other Japanese bought brothers, sisters and other related birds of this lucky winner.
People here were shocked.
Flying conditions in Japan are hard, why were those people so much interested in birds related to a winner that was driven home by the wind?
In the same race another bird won 16th prize.
This was a real miracle bird that had won 4 times in the first 80 NATIONAL before in all kinds of weather conditions.
But not one penny was offered for it.
Later I heard from some Japanese that the off spring of many expensive birds they bought performed so poorly in Japan.
But aren't they themselves to blame when you focus only on winners regardless the weather conditions or the consistency of birds?
When you talk pigeons with foreigners and the names of champions in Holland andBelgium are mentioned they are mostly the same names.
Now the question is: Do those guys also have the best birds?
I dare to doubt that.
What those big names all have in common is that they have many birds.
If a fancier in Holland or in Belgium only races a handful of pigeons he will never get a name abroad, no matter how good his results are.
But a fact is that many of these 'small un known guys' do perform far better than world famous names, they have better birds as well and the great names know this!
Why else would they go to those small lofts to buy pigeons if they want to improve their family?
Just look at pedigrees of the best birds of those big names. In most cases they got the ancestors of their top racers from unknown fanciers.
A nice example of what I mean is William Geerts.
He was the first full professional pigeon racer in Belgium and in the 70-ies and 80-ies most probably the best racer at Middle Distance.
In those days he bought a house with a big yard in the town of Schilde in the heart of the province of Antwerp.
'Here my location will never be the best but never be the worst either' he said.
Full of confidence he built very big lofts and the next step was to get good birds.
For such birds he went to an old man, Fonske Jacobs from Sint Gillis, who had few birds only but who was unbeatable in those days.
He bought a round of eggs and a round of babies for 500 francs (12 euro!) each and a couple of years later William performed so well with his Jacobs birds that he became world famous.
Fonske Jacobs however was as un known as he was before.
Examples such as this there are many.
When I talk about a super bird with foreigners most of them have the same question:
What strain is the bird?
I cannot imagine questions that are more stupid.
The real champions have no strain!
The great majority of super birds are crossings.
Another nice example of what I mean is Vandenabeele.
Especially in England they talk about the characteristics of their 'Gabbies'.
They claim to have them pure while Vandenabeele himself has a loft filled with imports, since he also believes in crossings.
Nearly all his best birds descend from his old family ('Kleinen' and stuff, and today 'Bliksem') crossed with others.
With Dirk van Dijck, Geerinckx and so on it is the same story.
The lofts of real champions are filled with crossings.
The lofts of sellers are filled with inbreeds.
These girls were supposed to be the 3 most beautiful in 2008.
But were they also the most beautiful?
Hmmm. Do not know
Let's go back to the Olympiad of 2009.
When the results of the Olympiad became known I was glad for the Polish who dominated nearly all categories.
But' I do not know of any Dutchman or Belgian who went to Poland to buy pigeons there to improve their family.
This will hopefully happen for our Polish friends in future because it stands to reason that competition will become stronger then.
As I said the strength of competition also differs a lot from one are to the other in Holland and Belgium.
The best pigeon in Holland 2009 has a coefficient of 2,18 (10 races).
This means that this bird won in 10 races against 1,000 birds 2nd prize every race.
I am sure it is even impossible in some other areas in Holland and Belgium to win 10 times 2nd prize against 100 birds. Of course all the credits to fancier and the bird. They cannot help it.