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Contact: Marni Lane, 617.671.8332 , MarniLane@USSAILING.org
US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Members Named US SAILING's 2009 SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year in Olympic and Paralympic Classes
Olympic SportsWoman of the Year – Anna Tunnicliffe
Olympic SportsMan of the Year – Zach Railey
Olympic Team of the Year – George Szabo and Rick Peters
Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year -- Maureen McKinnon-Tucker
Paralympic SportsMan of the Year – John Ruf
Paralympic Team of the Year – Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett
Portsmouth, R.I. (December 18, 2009) – US SAILING has chosen eight US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members as the sport’s 2009 SportsWoman, SportsMan and Team of the Year, in both Olympic and Paralympic classes, for outstanding on-the-water performance, achievement and sportsmanship. US SAILING’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) has named Laser Radial/Elliott6m/Women’s Match Racing sailor Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.) and Finn sailor Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) SportsWoman and SportsMan of the Year, respectively, and the Star team of George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and Rick Peters (Venice, Calif.) the 2009 Team of the Year. In the Paralympic classes, the OSC has selected Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) as the 2009 SportsWoman of the Year, 2.4 mR sailor John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) the SportsMan of the Year and the SKUD-18 duo Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Julia Dorsett (West Chester, Pa./Boca Raton, Fla.) the Team of the Year.
The OSC has nominated these exceptional sailors to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for consideration for the 2009 SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year awards across all Olympic and Paralympic sports. Each sport's national governing body selects their outstanding athletes for consideration for this prestigious national distinction. This year, the USOC has expanded its Paralympic category to include a Paralympic SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year, rather than just one Paralympic winner. The overall winners will be announced in January 2009.
US SAILING’s 2009 Olympic SportsWoman of the Year: Anna Tunnicliffe
Since winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the Laser Radial in 2008, Tunnicliffe has been an unstoppable force on the race course, excelling in the singlehanded dinghy and skippering several different boats on the match racing circuit. She dominated the Laser Radial fleet in the ISAF Sailing World Cup series by winning gold medals at Sail Melbourne, US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR and Semaine Olympique Francaise and a bronze medal at Kieler Woche. She has led the ISAF World Rankings in the Laser Radial consistently since April 9, 2008, and she won the first-ever ISAF Sailing World Cup trophy. She also won the Laser Radial North American Championship and finished third at the Laser Radial World Championship last summer.
Tunnicliffe alternated sailing the Radial and match racing, where she continued her winning streak: She won the Detroit Cup, New York Yacht Club Women’s Match Racing Regatta and Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship and took silver at the Rolex Osprey Cup and US Women’s Match Racing Championship. She also won the North American and Caribbean Nations Cup Regional Finals, qualifying her to compete at the ISAF Nations Cup Final, where she won bronze. At Sail for Gold, held at the venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Regattas, she also won a bronze medal in the new Elliott 6m. Tunnicliffe has received several other prestigious honors in 2009: She was named the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and has been named a nominee for US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award. This is the third year in a row she has been named US SAILING’s SportsWoman of the Year.
US SAILING’s 2009 Olympic SportsMan of the Year: Zach Railey
Zach Railey took a short break after winning a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games and then jumped right back in to a competitive Finn fleet to win several national and international medals. This year, he won a silver medal in a highly competitive fleet of 87 sailors at the Finn Gold Cup, the world championship held in Vallensbaek, Denmark. He also won the U.S. Finn National Championship and finished second overall at the Finn Midwinters Championship. Railey showed strong performances on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, winning bronze medals at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR and Sail for Gold. Railey also finished fifth at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, another ISAF Sailing World Cup event. This is the second year in a row Railey has won this award; Railey has also been named to the shortlist of US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award.
US SAILING’s 2009 Olympic Team of the Year: George Szabo and Rick Peters
The California-based team of Szabo and Peters impressed the world when they accomplished a huge comeback to win the Star World Champion title this year in Varberg, Sweden. After finishing 54th out of 86 boats in the first race, they reversed their luck to grab a bullet in the second race and climbed their way to the top to win the 2009 Star World Championship. Szabo and Peters hadn’t finished in the top ten since their first World Championship together in 1994 when they finished seventh. The new Star World Champions also won a silver medal at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR and bronze medals at the Star North American Championship, Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship and Star Western Hemisphere Championship. Szabo has also been named to the shortlist of US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award.
US SAILING’s 2009 Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year: Maureen McKinnon-Tucker
After winning a Paralympic gold medal with Nick Scandone in the SKUD-18 in Qingdao, China, McKinnon-Tucker transitioned from a double-handed keelboat to a triple-handed keelboat with ease in 2009. After sailing together for less than a year, Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), McKinnon-Tucker and Hugh Freund (So. Freeport, Me.) scored a string of bullets and won a gold medal in the Sonar at Sail for Gold in Weymouth, England. The team also won a bronze medal at US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Miami OCR, the first event they sailed together, and finished second in the ISAF Sailing World Cup standings in the Sonar. Last year, McKinnon-Tucker won US SAILING’s 2008 Team of the Year distinction with Scandone.
US SAILING’s 2009 Paralympic SportsMan of the Year: John Ruf
2008 Paralympic Bronze Medalist John Ruf was named the 2009 2.4 mR World Champion, after winning a 44-boat fleet of able-bodied and disabled sailors, including the 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist Paul Tingley (CAN) and 2009 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Champion Thierry Schmitter (NED). Ruf clinched the 2.4 mR World Championship a day early, securing the title with one race to spare. The Paralympic class coach, Betsy Alison, said his “exceptional speed and tenacity on the race course gave him an edge that was impossible to beat.” A humble Ruf didn’t check the results board throughout the week, so he didn’t realize he mathematically had a chance of winning gold on the second to the last day of racing. Ruf also won a silver medal at the 2.4 mR Midwinter Regatta in an 18-boat open (able-bodied and disabled) fleet and finished fifth out of 19 boats at US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR. This is the second year in a row Ruf has won this award. He was also named to the shortlist of US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award.
US SAILING’s 2009 Paralympic Team of the Year: Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett
Also no strangers to the podium, Whitman and Dorsett have dominated the doublehanded SKUD-18 fleet this year: At US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, they won all 11 races, which was the first in the history of the event. In August, they swiftly won another gold medal in a 6-boat fleet at another ISAF Sailing World Cup event, Sail for Gold, in Weymouth, England, the venue of the 2012 Paralympic Regatta. On the last day of the event, it only took one race for them to clinch the gold, but they sailed the second race and won that too. The duo also won the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings for the SKUD-18 class, which was awarded in Weymouth after the last event of the 2008-2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup series. In a close contest with Great Britain at the 2009 International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) World Championship in Athens, Greece, the SKUD-18 team won a silver medal. Whitman and Dorsett also won the SKUD-18 fleet at the 2009 America's Regatta in St. Petersburg, Fla., which was the first qualifying event for 2010 US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.
For more USSTAG bios, news, latest results, photos and Meet the Team video interviews, please visit the US Sailing Teams web site at http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/.
About US SAILING and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes and Group Experiential Learning. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country. For more information about US SAILING, please visit: www.ussailing.org. For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.