As the London 2012 Olympics Sailing Competition draws to a close the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team is wrapping up in Weymouth and Portland, home to the Olympic sailing venue. After 16 days of competition, the entire team – athletes, coaches, and staff – is finalizing the details involved with closing down the on-site operation. This evening, the team heads to London to spend the evening with their Team USA teammates before celebrating at Sunday’s Closing Ceremony. Before the team departed, Team Leader Dean Brenner spoke about the Team and the 2012 Olympic Games.
'We arrived here in mid-July as a team,' said Brenner. 'We went to the Opening Ceremony as a team, we’re packing up our containers as a team and we are going to the Closing Ceremony and then home as a team. The closing ceremony is going to be a great final step in this journey that we’ve all taken.'
The process to becoming a 2012 Olympian is a lifetime commitment, solidified over the past four years of training. 'Getting to the Olympic Games requires enormous commitment,' said Brenner. 'It requires great character, an immense amount of hard work. It starts with the decision ‘do you want to be an Olympian and are you willing to do what is required?'
Performance at the Games has come under scrutiny in the past few days, and Brenner explained that review and analysis come with any professional sports team. 'There are a lot of opinions about how the 2012 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team has done and with good reason,' said Brenner. 'People care about this team and a lot of people take pride in this team.
'We’ve made it easier over the years to follow the team and that’s worked because people are paying attention. The team didn’t do well. We all know that. The results weren’t what we wanted and what others were hoping for, which means there is a lot of opinion out there of what we should be doing, what we should be thinking about, what we did right and not right.
'I think it’s important to keep in mind a few things. A lot of things were done well and this team did a lot of things really well. We made a lot of progress this quad and these results don’t change that, and that progress is quantifiable in many ways.
'The other thing to keep in mind is the sailors themselves aren’t satisfied, and I think you’ll see a lot of them back for 2016. We’re going to take a really hard look in the mirror as a program, staff and athletes, and anyone who isn’t pleased with our performance should realize that neither are we, neither are the 16 athletes who were here. They’re going to take a look in the mirror and figure out what they can do better, whether they come back or not.'
Once the Olympic flame is extinguished at Olympic Park, in London, every member of the Team will take with them the memories and pride of representing the United States of American, and then return home as Olympians.
Each day of the Olympic Games, Team Leader Dean Brenner wrote from his perspective about what was happening behind the scenes. Take a look back here.
Final standings: 12th, Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy), Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 29th, Laser, Rob Crane (Darien, Conn.) 20th, Women’s RS:X Windsurfing, Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) 22nd, RS:X Windsurfing, Bob Willis (Chicago, Ill.) 7th, Star (Men’s Keelboat), Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (both Miami, Fla.) 8th, Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) 15th, 49er, Erik Storck (Huntington, N.Y.) and Trevor Moore (Naples, Fla./N. Pomfret, Vt.) 14th, Men’s 470, Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.) and Graham Biehl (San Diego, Calif.) 9th, Women’s 470, Amanda Clark (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and Sarah Lihan (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 5th, Women’s Match Racing, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) **BFD is black flag penalty