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At the Helm - May 2012

On May 7 we finally determined who the last three members of the 2012 US Olympic Sailing Team would be. The Women’s Match Racing Trials concluded and Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi won a close trials against several other strong teams, and won the right to represent the USA at the Games this summer.

Congratulations are in order for Anna, Molly and Debbie for winning such a close series and putting together such a strong campaign. But congratulations are also in order to the three additional teams: Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham and Alana O’Reilly; Genny Tulloch, Alice Manard Leonard and Jenn Chamberlin; and Stephanie Roble, Darby Smith and Maggie Shea. All four teams put together a great effort and made a significant commitment. Congratulations to all of you.

These trials, and the last four years of sailing, represent the best example of what we want our program to become. We had several very talented teams commit to serious efforts. These teams attracted multiple world-class coaches to the effort. The program put serious resources behind the efforts of our sailors. And, perhaps most importantly, the sailors bought into our collaborative training model and they worked together to create the strongest Olympic match racing program in the world. The theory was simple… if we work separately, one of the teams will win the trials, go onto the Games, and compete for a medal. But if we work together, one of the teams will still win the trials and go onto the Games, but the winner will stand a much greater chance of succeeding at the Games. I think all the teams would agree that their commitment to work together made them all better, and has improved our record of success over the last two years.

This effort is exactly what we are trying to build, in all classes, and while that attitude and ethos was set by the program’s leadership, it is the sailors who bring it to life with their actions. So I offer great thanks and kudos to all four teams, all the coaches, and everyone who contributed to our match racing program over the last few years. Regardless of how Anna, Molly and Debbie do at the Games, we have a great deal to be proud of as a group.

We now have our team, 16 Olympians, 6 Paralympians, and we are getting ready to go. Final preparations are under way and the Olympics begin in 66 days as of this writing… the Paralympics begin in 99. Everyone is working hard, everyone is working together, and I like what I see.

I hope you will continue to follow along as this team represents the USA this summer. We all have a lot to be proud of with this team. I know that no matter what the results, they will represent all of us very well.

Sail fast,
Dean Brenner
Chairman, Olympic Sailing Committee


Excerpted from The Medalist, May 2012