The mass media have no problem with one-design champions.
That's why Lee Lai Shan was the favourite sportstar of young women in her country. That's why Barbara Kendall was rated by a major poll in her country's 10 most trusted people.
In both these countries, these are their two most successful athletes. Lee Lai Shan sails in a country with virtually no other sailors of any type (i.e. her success has done nothing to encourage many people to take up sailing) and is HK's first gold medallist.
Barbara Kendall I think is NZ's most successful athlete in recent times.
Has nothing to do with OD. Everything to do with winning in the Olympics. If they were synchronised swimmers and in the case of Barbara white/Lee Lai Shan Chinese and this successful, they would be equally famous. I doubt anyone knows what Barbara does between the olympic cycles.
Almost all sailors are frigging boring people to the mass media unless they are the fastest/tallest/most expensive/most winning etc. Because the mass media doesn't have a clue about what sailing is about.
Most windsurfers in NZ know and congratulate Tom Ashley I am sure, but few know or have an interest in RSX. Not to do with media, but in NZ, many people who windsurf do so to blat around and could not care less about racing.
Formula, IMCO, hybrid etc etc - they are all much the same - minority interests within the sport of windsurfing. At least each is in some way spreading light wind sailing to some degree amount non racers.