Pictured: Olympic sailing’s Medal Race Course in Rio de Janeiro.
by Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing
On August 5, as we mark the 365-day countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, US Sailing Team Sperry athletes will be working on final preparations for this summer’s Olympic Test Event, formally known as the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta. The Olympic Test Event, held August 13-22 on the Olympic Games racecourses in Rio de Janeiro, is a test for our team in many ways. Athletes, coaches, & staff have been preparing for this regatta for well over a year, and we approach the event with specific goals in mind.
From a performance standpoint, this is the team’s peak event for 2015. We define “peak” as an event that culminates an athlete/team’s training program and has specific performance and results-oriented goals. Depending on the boat and the athletes, you can only plan a minimal number of peak events per year. Schedules have to be aligned to maximize training time with high-level coaching at the venue—or at a different venue that features similar conditions. The best equipment has to be prepared to insure top performance. Fitness and rest are also essential ingredients, and the athletes will arrive in Rio fit, rested and ready to race.
Pictured: US sailors such Laser Radial athlete Paige Railey (right) are being assisted by a world-class coaching staff in advance of the Rio 2016 games, including two-time medal-winning coach Mark Littlejohn (left).
The US Sailing Team Sperry will send 15 athletes to Rio—8 men, 7 women—to compete in the 10 Olympic classes; by rule we are allowed one USA entry per class at the Olympic Test Event. They are Paige Railey (Laser Radial), Charlie Buckingham (Laser), Stu McNay & David Hughes (470 M), Annie Haeger & Briana Provancha (470 W), Paris Henken & Helena Scutt (49erFX), Brad Funk & Trevor Burd (49er), Caleb Paine (Finn), Carson Crain (RS:X M), Farrah Hall (RS:X W), and Sarah Newbury & Matthew Whitehead (Nacra 17). Each athlete/team qualified through a results-based selection system, and each has eyes on a bigger prize—performing one year from now at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. There is no better way to prepare for the Olympic Games than to race in a competitive Test Event on the same courses, at the same time of year and in small Olympic-size fleets.
The team behind the team at the Olympic Test Event is a hard-working group of coaches and staff, who will be in Rio to support the athletes in all ways that help maximize performance. The athletes will be surrounded by expert coaches in their Olympic sailing discipline, a world-class coaching staff led by High Performance Director Charlie McKee. Other US Sailing Team Sperry specialists on hand will include a Rio weather strategist, top physical therapists, a sports psychologist, and a boatwright. The equipment the athletes are racing with is state of the art. This team is prepared.
The team’s title partner Sperry also needs a test run for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and will be in Rio this August as an integral part of the team and to lay groundwork for next year’s marketing programs. As you can see, it’s all hands on deck in Rio for the US Sailing Team Sperry this August. You can join us, too. We will be sharing the team’s progress with supporters and followers back home with one of our best media programs yet. Follow our journey on most major social media channels.
— Josh Adams
Pictured: US Sailing Team Sperry 470 sailors Annie Haeger (right) and Briana Provancha (left) study conditions on the medal race course prior to racing at the 470 South American Championships in early August, 2015.
The Medalist Newsletter: US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing News
- Olympic Test: One Year to the Games, by Josh Adams
- Snapshots From the Campaign Trail
- August 5: US Sailing Team Sperry to Appear on NBC
- 2015 Rio Olympic Test Event Team Roster Announced
- Pan Am Games: Team USA (Sailing) Takes Home Six Medals
- News From Dockside
- Gear Up at the New Team Store