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US Sailing Foundation announces the first Kevin Burnham Memorial Grant recipients

by US Sailing 25 Jan 16:03 PST
470 Men USA Foerster Paul - Burnham Kevin GOLD, Athens 2004 Olympic Games © Daniel Forster

The US Sailing Foundation awarded the inaugural Kevin Burnham Memorial Grants to three promising young sailors in December.

Created in honor of Athens 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Burnham, the grants assist young sailors not yet on the US Sailing Team as they begin their quest to the Olympic Games. The grants are awarded to sailors aged 31 and under who demonstrate outstanding competitive sailing potential, display an infectious enthusiasm, and compete in two-person Olympic class or Olympic Development class trapeze boats.

The 2022 grantees are: Charles Hibben of Barnstable, MA; Ian Nyenhuis of San Diego, CA; and Thomas Sitzmann of Severna Park, MD.

Both Sitzmann and Nyenhuis raced in the 49er FX regatta in Miami, having transitioned from the I-420 and 29er. They both represented the US at the Youth Worlds in Oman in 2020 while Nyenhuis also represented the US in the Youth Worlds in 2021 Holland. Hibben had a successful youth career, winning C420 New Englands, U18 Team Race Worlds, and qualified for 2018 Youth Worlds. After youth sailing, Charlie has raced on world championship keelboat teams, as well as winning a 49erFX North American Championship.

"It is great to see Kevin's [Burnham] legacy of athlete development in 2-person trapeze boats come to life with these grants to both Olympic Development Program and campaigning sailors," said Fred Hagedorn, a member of the Grant Selection Committee.

The Kevin Burnham Memorial Fund was established in 2022 under the umbrella of the US Sailing Foundation by Kevin's wife, Elizabeth Kratzig, his children Edward and Kyla Burnham, and his lifelong friend Steve Benjamin to carry on Kevin's memory and mission. The family hopes that the Fund will grow large enough to endow a US Sailing coaching position in Kevin's name.

For more information or to remember Kevin Burnham with a gift to his fund, please visit There, you can learn more about how you can support talented young sailors during the critical transition from high school and college sailing to qualifying for the US Sailing Team.

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