US Olympic sailing review

Jesse Falsone looks at how the American Olympic sailing team are upping their game and the form for Qingdao
Sailing has always been one of America’s Olympic success stories. With a total of 57 medals since the 1932 games, the US ranks above even Great Britain in the overall medal tally. In fact, in the three quads encompassing the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Games, the US completely dominated sailing, taking 21 medals in 25 medal opportunities. This success was the result of an excellent amateur sailing program in the US that competed with other amateur sailing programs abroad. However, since 1996, the Brits, and many other nations, have taken a very professional approach within their Olympic sailing programs, and the results speak for themselves. In the last three Olympic Games, Great Britain has outscored the United States 12-8 in medals, and 5-2 in Olympic Gold. What do the Brits and other nations have that the US doesn’t? In the UK, the funding provided by the national lottery over the last three quads has driven the team to develop incredible depth in each class. Contrast this with the USA, much of the recent American sailing success has come from just a handful of very talented sailors, including the likes of Paul Foerster (one gold and two silver), Mark Reynolds (two gold and one silver), Jonathan and Charlie McKee (four medals between them). While the Star class has always been a hotbed for top US sailors, Olympic dinghy sailing in America has languished under the weight of dwindling domestic competition, and the high costs of training and competing overseas. Recognizing the problem, the US Sailing Olympic Committee has embarked upon changing the system. Dean Brenner, Chairman of the US Olympic Sailing Committee, has helped set the US team on a new course. “This is an exciting time in the history of US Sailing”, Brenner enthuses. “We have embarked on a dramatic reinvention of