Our team’s theme in 2014 could be summarized in a word: urgency. Athletes, coaches, and management of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider felt the urgency to advance our Rio 2016 effort by logging the necessary hours of high quality training; fully launching our team’s Rio training operation; and getting results on the water in the 10 Olympic and 3 Paralympic classes.
But there is much work to be done in order to achieve our performance goals in Rio 2016. The team’s performance in the Olympic events at September’s ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, which happened at the midpoint of the Rio 2016 quad, showed how attainable success in Rio is for these athletes. We believe in them and the talent they displayed under pressure at the Worlds. The heat only rises from now until the Games, and we like the makeup of this team.
Our team’s Paralympic athletes also had strong performances at the 2014 IFDS World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia, qualifying USA for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in two of the three classes (SKUD 18 and 2.4 Meter). The US is strong in all three classes; look for the team to be training and racing in force this winter at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.
From the early days of the team’s Rio 2016 campaign, it has been a focus of ours to insure our athletes are prepared for the Games venue. As a team, we have made a full commitment to our training on the Rio racecourses. Our athletes are supported in Rio with a training base in Niteroi, across Guanabara Bay from the city, where we store a new fleet of Olympic class boats, owned by US Sailing and funded by a loyal supporter of the team.
Having the venue and the boats allows US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes and coaches to maximize time on the water in Rio. In fact, on any given week from mid-October to present, a US athlete was training in Rio. With every training camp in Rio, we are feeling more and more comfortable with the Games racecourses. It’s a tricky venue, one where our team loves to sail and where experience is rewarded.
In 2015, our team will head off in many different directions, depending on individual athlete and class schedules. Here are the highlights in the year ahead:
– ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. We expect more than 800 competitors from 61+ countries. Our own event will be one of the largest and most competitive Olympic & Paralympic regattas of the year.
– Pan American Games. The Pan Am Games are in Toronto in July. We’re sending our very best from he US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider.
– Rio Test Event. Each country sends one competitor per class, a dress rehearsal for the Games. Racing is held on the Games racecourses. We aim to perform here.
– IFDS Worlds in Melbourne, Australia. Many of our team’s Paralympic athletes will head Down Under for the next Worlds.