We’re just back from the Sail for Gold event in Weymouth, England, the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We competed in all 13 Olympic and Paralympic events and had a full team and staff over there. It was quite an operation.
But any reasonable scan of the results showed some things we’re not used to seeing from the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. The results were noticeably down this week, and one has to wonder why. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at it over the past few days since the event ended, and I’ve spoken to a number of our coaches. And the analysis comes down to two things.
First, in nine of the 10 Olympic classes, this was step one of the 2012 Games Selection process. In other words, it was the beginning of our Trials. One can’t analyze these results without factoring that in. In many classes, American sailors were spending a lot of energy racing against and looking around for other American sailors, rather than racing the whole fleet and trying to win the event. There’s no doubt that this had some impact on the results.
Second, in a few other places, we had enough things go wrong to keep us off the podium. In other words, where it wasn’t the Trials influence, we had a bad week.
It’s one event, and the Games are still more than a year away. Each team and sailor is on their own path to the Games, and each team and sailor has a different list of strengths and weaknesses to work on. I hesitate to draw too many certain conclusions from one event. But at the same time, completely ignoring less-than-great results can also be a dangerous game.
We have a lot of talent on this team, and some great coaches guiding our sailors. But we also have some work to do if we are going to reach our goals next year.
I’m confident the work will be done.
Dean Brenner is the Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee