Charlie Buckingham (Laser) Wins Selection to Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team


Pictured: Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.), Laser, U.S. Olympic Sailing Team.


April 1, 2016

Charlie Buckingham
Charlie Buckingham, Laser

Palma de Mallorca, Spain. – Laser athlete Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) has earned selection to the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team based on the results of the US Sailing Olympic Athlete Selection Series in the men’s one-person dinghy. The Laser North American Champion has been the top U.S. athlete in this class for four years, and has represented the United States at the Pan American Games and during two test events at the 2016 Olympic venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This will be the first career Olympic Games appearance for Buckingham.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was probably ten years old,” said the two-time ICSA College Sailor of the Year from Georgetown University. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last four years, since the last trials, and so today’s a special day.”

While Buckingham’s results have consistently exceeded his US Sailing Team Sperry (national team) teammates during the Rio 2016 quadrennium, he noted that the Selection Series, and its final stage at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia (March 25 – April 2) in Palma de Mallorca, proved to be a challenge. “I felt like I had to put extra attention into making sure I didn’t make big mistakes to put myself out of the event. It was definitely a stressful week at times, but I’m glad the result went my way.” Buckingham entered the regatta in Spain with an eight-point lead over his closest U.S. competitor, national team sailor Erik Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.).

Buckingham’s Rio 2016 campaign is his second attempt at earning Olympic selection, after competing for a spot at London 2012 fresh off his standout intercollegiate career. “I’m definitely more experienced, and I have four years of preparation behind me, so it’s been quite different,” said Buckingham. “I basically went into the last trials with no preparation. I had four years of college sailing, but no full-time Olympic experience. This time around, I felt like I was ready for it.”


Pictured: The Laser Fleet at the 2015 Rio Olympic Test Event.

The Laser fleet is renowned for its depth of talent, but Buckingham’s results, including 7th place finishes at both the 2014 Laser World Championship and 2015 Olympic Test Event, have secured his standing as an elite competitor. “The margin of error is pretty small. You get punished for every little mistake you make in this fleet,” said Buckingham. “It makes the racing a challenge, but that’s why I like it. I really enjoy lining up against the best in the world, and really testing myself.”

Buckingham will now return his attention to preparing for the Games in Rio, and towards delivering a career-best performance on one of the biggest stages in sports. “I’ve had some good moments and good results. I just need to figure out how I can put the pieces together, and have a good week in August.”

See Also: Full U.S. Olympic Team Selection Tracker (All Classes)


Pictured: Buckingham racing in Rio de Janeiro, August 2015.

Note: All athletes named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).

About the US Sailing Team Sperry

The US Sailing Team Sperry is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team Sperry. US Sailing helps these elite athletes with financial, logistical, coaching, technical, fitness, marketing and communications support. The title sponsor of the team is Sperry; other sponsors include Gold-Level partner Sunbrella and Silver-Level partners Harken, Team McLube and Groupe Beneteau. Yale Cordage is a team supplier. The US Sailing Center Miami is an Olympic training site. Oakcliff Sailing and Clearwater Community Sailing Center are US Sailing Team Sperry Training Centers. Chubb Personal Insurance and the Gowrie Group sponsors US Sailing’s National Team Tour, a nationwide presentation program for US Sailing Team Sperry athletes. For more information, please visit

The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry. For more information, please visit

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Press Contact: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing., +1 (978) 697-2384.