Pictured: Caleb Paine, Finn, US Sailing Team Sperry.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2016
Portsmouth, R.I. – The Finn European Championship (March 7-12) has begun in Barcelona, Spain. This event will serve as the second and final regatta in what has become a tight U.S. Olympic Team Selection Series in the Finn class (Men’s Heavyweight Dinghy). Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) leads US Sailing Team Sperry (national team) teammate Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) by a single point in the series heading into the event, with Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) close behind.
“I’m right behind him,” said Paine at the conclusion of Sailing World Cup Miami (January 25-30), the first selection event. “Basically we’re tied in terms of Olympic qualification. It’s ‘who beats who’ in Barcelona. We thought we might as well make it exciting for everyone.”
Though still young compared to most of his competitors, Paine has consistently proven himself to be among the top sailors in the world in the men’s heavyweight dinghy during the Rio 2016 Olympic cycle. Paine has won the ISAF World Cup Series (2012), and took bronze at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final. He also won gold at the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, and was 7th at the 2014 Finn Gold Cup (World Championship), where he also qualified the United States for Rio 2016 in the Finn.
Nevertheless, while Paine has trained full-time for over five years, the competition for the Olympic berth will be stiff. The venerable Railey stands with raw but talented Muller as the other top Americans vying for a place on Team USA.
“To be basically even, which is what we’ll be going into the second [selection] event, I feel very confident,” said Railey, who has never been known to shy away from a battle. The Floridian made his name by challenging eventual five-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie (Great Britain) for Finn gold in 2008. In addition to being a medalist, Railey is a two-time U.S. Olympian and Olympic Sailing Team Captain. He has been largely inactive since London 2012, but started training intensively in late 2015.
Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) has been active in the class for less than two years, but is determined to rise quickly through the ranks. He has the talent to do so, having been honored as the youngest U.S. Laser National Champion in history in 2013. After a successful campaign for the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds in the Laser Radial, Muller decided to make the switch to the Finn class. He currently sails for Stanford University when not competing in the Finn. Muller enters the Europeans nine points back from Railey in the selection standings.
Racing at the Finn Europeans will run from March 7-12. More information can be found on the event website.
Pictured: Zach Railey, Finn, US Sailing Team Sperry.
Finn (Men’s One-Person Heavyweight Dinghy)
Rio 2016 Olympic Athlete Selection Series, Current Standings:
Note: All athletes named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). For more information on the 2016 Laser Radial European Championship, visit the event website.
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 www.ussailing.org/olympics
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 www.ussailing.org
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Press Contact: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing. firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (978) 697-2384.