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More tough news for U.S. Olympic sailing interests

by David Schmidt 24 Sep 08:00 PDT September 24, 2019
Malcolm Page (AUS) is US Sailing's chief of Olympic sailing and a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008, 2012) in the Men's 470 class © Image courtesy of US Sailing

Let's face it: The situation for U.S. Olympic sailing has been bleak for a long time, and based on last week's news, odds are now good that the news cycle will continue to be bumpy through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. If you're just tuning in to this news now, the fast-track recap is that the USA - the second most decorated nation in Olympic sailing history - has managed to win just a single bronze medal in the last two Olympic regattas (N.B. the U.S.-flagged team has fared much better at the last two Paralympic games). Worst yet, the team suffered a medal-ceremony shutout at the London 2012 Olympics (it was ugly; I was there), and the US Sailing's Olympic-sailing leadership tiller has since passed through two different sets of hands.

While I have little interest in rehashing the team's past failures, the fact remains that the American-flagged sailing team has had three chiefs of Olympic sailing over the past seven-plus years and has only a single bronze Olympic medal to show for their fundraising and racecourse efforts. This certainly isn't a proud result, nor one that even comes close to representing the greatness that this team has historically demonstrated at Olympic regattas.

So, given the team's lackluster performance of late, the impact hit even harder last Thursday (September 19) when US Sailing sent out an email announcing that Malcolm Page (AUS), the team's Chief of Olympic Sailing and a double gold medalist in the Men's 470, was out.

The official US Sailing press release stated: "US Sailing and Malcolm Page, Chief of Olympic Sailing, announced that they have agreed to part ways. Page will be leaving US Sailing and returning to his home in Australia. He will be working with US Sailing Team staff and coaches on transition activities through the end of October, 2019."

Rumors are flying, and while some stories seem more solid than others, we will not trade in flaky currency. Instead, we'll talk about what matters most, namely, giving our sailors the tools that they need to best represent our country at next summer's Games. This task will not be easy, especially considering that the US Sailing press release announcing Page's departure didn't spell out a Plan B.

Sail-World.com wishes aspiring American Olympic sailors the very best of luck as they prepare for what promises to be a highly challenging Olympic regatta.

May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt

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