Return of the sailing giant

Dan Nerney / Rolex
Dean Brenner, Chairman of the USA's Olympic Sailing Committee, looks at the development of their team
Skandia Team GBR may still be the force to be reckoned with among Olympic sailing teams, however for 2012 several other nations are on the rise. One of the most potent of these is the American US Sailing Team Alphagraphics. According to Dean Brenner, Chairman of the US team’s Olympic Sailing Committee, change has been underway in the American team since his leadership group of 10 came into existence in the autumn of 2004. “It is important to understand why we have done what we’ve done,” says Brenner, who himself narrowly missed selection to go the Sydney Games with Ed Baird in the Soling. “Until 1992, the US was the top by a lot. The whole world up until that time was competing as amateurs. But then it changed and the US didn’t change with it. It took the US a few years to realise that a change had occurred. We won nine medals in 1992. The next time around we won only two. If you are running a business and you just had a massive success and then the next time you have a disappointing outcome – maybe you change everything or maybe you think it is an anomaly. So nothing changed after 1996. Then in 2000 in Sydney we won four medals and that delayed any change even further because it was like ‘how bad is it? We won four medals’. So that delayed any significant change for another four years. Then we had two medals in Athens so then it was no longer a blip – it was a trend.” Brenner also points out that over the last three or four Olympiads there has become more parity between the top nations. While the US team’s performance relative to that in past Games over 1996 and 2004 was ‘down’, they still