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At the Helm - February 2012

I’m writing this from London, England. Kenneth Andreasen and I are here for a week’s worth of meetings with the USOC to plan for the Games later this year. We’re now at 169 days from the Olympics and 202 days from the Paralympics, as of tonight. And with most of our Teams chosen (all except our three women’s match racers), our preparation takes two distinct tracks.

One track is the Performance track, where our coaches (led by Kenneth) prepare our sailors for the Games and personal best performances. The second track is the Support track, where we (led by me for the Olympic Games, and Lee Icyda who will serve as Team Leader for the Paralympic Games) will manage all the other distractions that are part of the Games. Success at the Games can be dictated by lots of things, and a big one is that ability of the team to manage all of the distractions that come along with the Games. On one hand, you want to treat it like any other event. But on the other hand, it’s NOT like any other event. The additional things (more media, more sponsor involvement, more friends and family, more rules, more drug testing, more security concerns, more everything…) need to be carefully managed so that we fulfill our responsibilities and some of the expectations, but at the same time, keep our eyes on the real goal of sailing well.

Kenneth and, I and all the other Summer Games team leaders, spent the entire day today in a presentation from USOC on all aspects of the Games, and there is a lot that goes into this event. It’s a pretty impressive project challenge and from a USA perspective, it is managed brilliantly by the USOC.

We’ll cover all of this in more detail in the coming months, but the important thing for you now is the knowledge that our Games effort starts long before the Opening Ceremonies. The proper Games effort begins months in advance by making sure that all the “other stuff” is handled in such a way that the sailors almost do not even know what is going on around them.

Things are looking good for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Strong performances in Perth and in Miami clearly show that we are on schedule in many events. It’s the end of the day here, so we now are down to 169 days until the Opening. Every day counts.

We hope you are following along, and as always, sail fast.

Dean Brenner
Team Leader
US Olympic Sailing Team