by Greg Nicoll
When the opportunity to become the title sponsor to the US Sailing Team was presented to Sperry Top-Sider, Michele Pytko Director of Performance Marketing for Sperry, in her opening remarks at the official celebration of this partnership at the New York Yacht Club, said the collective decision to make this happen took about 30 seconds.
Sperry Top-Sider President Craig Reingold, Olympian Sally Barkow, US Sailing Executive Director Jack Gierhart and Michele Pytko Sperry Top-Sider Director of Performance Marketing In model room of the New York Yacht Club - Sperry Top-Sider: The Thirty Second Decision
The 30 second decision was re-enforced by Craig Reingold, President of Sperry Top-Sider who addressed the media, guests and US Sailing Team members attending the celebration. He also added that Sperry’s sponsorship of the US Sailing Team 'is the milestone, a monumental event in the 75 year history of the Sperry Top-Sider brand.’
After 20 years of their sponsor relationship, which he referred to as 'dating', Craig sees that being the title sponsorship is the coming together of two great brands, Sperry and US Sailing, both of whom share a common vision - to build the sport of sailing. He also noted the growth the US Team has experienced especially over the past four years, and how strong they are heading into Weymouth for the Olympic Games, where they are expecting some sensational results.
Executive Director of US Sailing Jack Giehart sees the Sperry Top-Sider sponsorship of US Sailing as an 'organic partnership' and with shared values we can take the team 'to the next level.
‘This sponsorship will provide great assistance with coaching and transportation so our sailors can focus on what they need to do to improve.’
It was fitting to celebrate this sponsorship in the famed and historic model room at NYYC.
Jack explained that Paul Sperry introduced his first sailing shoe in 1935 and that the US Sailing Team won its first Olympic sailing medal in 1932 and there lies the long history between these two brands in the sport of sailing. He also praised Sperry’s commitment to the sport of sailing through their work with youth programs, sponsorship of major regattas and their involvement with the entire sport of sailing.
Representing the US Sailing Team at the celebration was Olympian Sally Barkow. Sally praised the Sperry commitment to the US Sailing Team and the close relationship they have with sailors. As a competitor at the highest level, Sally spends approximately 250 days a year on the water training and competing, and knows the value of having the best equipment. She acknowledged Sperry’s close relation, their flexibility and ability to listen to the athletes input when designing new gear.
The Sperry Top-Sider Title Sponsorship is looking beyond the Weymouth Games and the 2016 games in Brazil, to develop top sailors, results and products.
They will also be expanding their product lines to include apparel, sunglasses and luggage. Their designers are working closely with athletes to constantly improve products for the rigors of our sport.
Craig Reingold added that Sperry has put in place a team to work with the US Sailing Team to create innovative products and special technologies, so that sailors can perform at the pinnacle of their abilities.
Michele Pytko Director Performance Marketing, Jack Gierhart Executive Director US Sailing, Karen Pitts Vice President Sperry Top-Sider Inc.