Anyone familiar with U.S. Olympic sailing is aware of a certain peculiarity with how the U.S. Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) chooses its Olympic representatives: Rather than averaging results from multiple international events, the U.S. has historically used a one-regatta, winner-take-all format.
While this methodology does an excellent job of replicating the sort of stand-and-deliver pressure that is the Olympic Games, it doesn't consider that sometimes, somebody just has a bad regatta, nor does it show how some handles a really high quality fleet, where they have to fight for space.
Will the new US selection method deliver more US sailing medals? - Anna Tunnicliffe at Kieler Woche Regatta 2009 (Photo: Luther Carpenter) - .. .
Dean Brenner, OSC Chairman, announced this week that for the 2012 Olympic Games, to be held in Weymouth/Portland, England, the U.S. will switch to a international multi-regatta format for choosing its team members.
Now, aspiring U.S. Olympic sailors can average their results from two international events—the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta (Weymouth/Portland, England, scheduled for June 5-11, 2011), and International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Championship (Perth, Australia, scheduled for December 3-18, 2011)—to earn a berth on the team. (N.B., the sole exception is the Women's Match Racing, which will instead average sailors' results from two separate regattas, one in Miami, Florida in October, 2011, the other in Weymouth, England in spring 2012.)
'Most of the top countries use a combination of international events. We were one of the few countries not using some kind of international selection procedures,' said Brenner. 'The Olympic sailing program's primary mission is to field a team of athletes most capable of achieving success at the Olympic Games, and we believe this new system gives us the greatest chance of achieving that mission in 2012.'
Hats off to Brenner and the USC for taking this sensible step, yet another example of the excellent strategic thinking that the USSTAG is enjoying under Brenner's capable leadership.
And on the AC front, San Francisco—BMW/Oracle boss Larry Ellison's hometown—is now the only U.S. city in contention for hosting the 34th Defense. While European bids are still being considered, this is a big step towards naming the venue. Stay tuned.
Fair winds and following seas,