Rio 2016 Paralympic Games: U.S. Sailing Team


The Rio 2016 U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team was comprised of six sailors hailing from six different U.S. States. Each athlete qualified for the team based on the results of US Sailing’s Rio 2016 Athlete Selection Series. The Games of the XV Paralympiad took place from September 7-18, 2016, and the sailing events were based at Marina da Gloria on Rio de Janeiro’s harbor front. The Paralympic Games featured approximately 4,300 athletes from 161 countries competing in 22 sports. The sailing events included 80 athletes from 23 nations competing in three classes. Racing was conducted from September 12-17, 2016. 

With a victory in the final race of the event, U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team sailors Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.)Brad Kendell (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine) won silver medals in the Sonar class, the three-person Paralympic keelboat. For all three sailors it was the first Paralympic medal of their careers. Gold in the Sonar was won by the Australian team of Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Jonathan Harris. Bronze was secured by Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes of Canada. Several teams were in the running for the podium coming into the 6th and final day of the sailing events of Rio 2016, but Team USA saved their best race for last to win silver in dramatic fashion.

“Rick, Brad, and Hugh sailed a great series and earned their silver medal today by racing smart and fast in the final race, on a difficult course and under pressure,” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing, who served as Team Leader for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. “They’ve worked incredibly hard as a team over the years and deserve 

Doerr, Kendell and Freund entered Rio 2016 as the reigning Para Sailing World Champions and had high hopes for a podium performance. Doerr, the helmsman, is the longest-tenured athlete on the U.S. Sailing Team, having campaigned for the Paralympic Games almost continuously since 1998. Rio 2016 was his second Paralympic appearance following an 8th place performance in Beijing 2008 with different teammates. For Kendell and Freund, Rio 2016 is their first career appearance at the Games.

“We came into today in a similar position as we had at the World Championship earlier this year, with everything to play for on the final day,” said Freund on the dock. “We really sailed the way the three of us know how to sail this boat.”

Kendell said that it was hard to put into words what this means for the three tight-knit athletes. “2016 has been unbelievable, and this is the year we’ve worked so hard for. Coming in as World Champions, you don’t want to let it get inside your head, but you know at least that you have a chance to medal.”

The team also paid tribute to their coach, Mike Ingham (Rochester, N.Y.) who worked intensively with Doerr, Kendell and Freund for the final two year years of the Rio 2016 quadrennium. “We had talent on our team, but Mike figured out how to make it all work,” said Freund. “If you look at our trajectory, it’s a huge testament to his ability as a coach to get the most out of people.” Ingham holds over 20 U.S. national and North American one-design sailing titles, and helped Doerr, Kendell and Freund win their first world championship as a team.

In the 2.4mR, Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.) finished his regatta strong with a 1,5,6 in the final races, but in the end finished just off the podium in 4th overall. “I sailed OK today, and I did everything I wanted to do on the racecourse. I just got caught in traffic,” said Smith, a cancer survivor, on the dock after the final race. Smith is a veteran of the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Maxi competition and many other high-level racing programs over the course of his professional sailing career, but Rio 2016 was his first Paralympic Games appearance. “I don’t remember sailing against better competition, anywhere,” said Smith. “The effort I put into this campaign is as strong as I’ve done for anything in my career, and the people I sailed against were just exceptionally good.” Smith was coached in Rio by Brazilian native Maru Urban (Salvador, Brazil).


Pictured: Dee Smith, 2.4mR class.

A 7th place in the final race was not enough to lift Team USA SKUD-18 representatives Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Beijing 2008 gold medalist Maureen McKinnon (Marblehead, Mass.) into podium position, but the pair ended the event in a very respectable 5th overall. “I’m really proud of how we competed,” said Porteous, who was a Paralympian for the first time. “We trained hard, and we put our best effort forward. The other teams sailed phenomenally, and overall this has been an amazing experience.” Porteous teamed up late in the four-year Paralympic cycle with McKinnon, who brought a veteran’s touch to the campaign. “The biggest difference this time [compared to Beijing 2008] was all of the training we were able to do in the Games venue beforehand,” said McKinnon. “The training setup organized by the US Sailing Team for U.S. Paralympic and Olympic sailors in Rio was second to none in the world.” The pair was coached by five-time US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), which has led US Sailing’s Paralympic performance effort since Sydney 2000. “Betsy’s work ethic is the best I’ve ever seen in my life,” said McKinnon. “She pushed us every step of the way.”

The Games was partially clouded by a sense among the athletes, coaches and support staff that Rio 2016 could be the last Paralympic sailing competition in history, since sailing was not included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic sports program. Nevertheless, there was significant hope for the future. “Sailing is just uniquely empowering to an incredibly broad number of disabilities, in a way that no other Paralympic sport can match,” said McKinnon. Freund, her longtime national team teammate, agreed. “There’s no other sport that levels the playing field [among those of differing] age, gender, and ability. Every part of what makes the Paralympics great is in this sport. I have a huge amount of respect for all the sailors who put together incredible campaigns, worked so hard for so long, and achieved amazing things here in Rio,” said the newly-minted medalist.

See Also: Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Team Roster


Pictured: Porteous and McKinnon, SKUD-18 class.


Full Results: Rio 2016

Sonar (Three-Person Keelboat, Top 10):

  1. AUS – HARRISON Colin, HARRIS Jonathan, BOADEN Russell: 26
  2. USA – DOERR Rick, FREUND Hugh, KENDELL Brad: 44
  3. CAN – TINGLEY Paul, LUTES Scott, CAMPBELL Logan: 51
  4. NZL – DODSON Richard, MAY Andrew, SHARP Chris: 51
  5. NOR – WANG-HANSEN Aleksander, SOLBERG Marie, KRISTIANSEN Per Eugen: 54
  6. GER – KLOTZING Lasse, KROKER Jens, MAINKA Siegmund: 55
  7. GRE – CHRISTOFOROU Vasileios, ALEXAS Theodoros, NOTAROGLOU Anargyros: 58
  8. ISR – COHEN Dror, BEN YAKOV Shimon, EFRATI Arnon: 59
  9. GBR – ROBERTSON John, THOMAS Stephen, STODEL Hannah: 64
  10. FRA – JOURDREN Bruno, FLAGEUL Eric, VIMONT-VICARY Nicolas: 89

2.4mR (One-Person Keelboat, Top 10):

  1. FRA  -SEGUIN Damien: 30
  2. AUS – BUGG Matthew: 36
  3. GBR – LUCAS Helena: 39
  4. USA – SMITH Dee: 43
  5. NOR – ERIKSTAD Bjornar: 52
  6. GER – KROGER Heiko: 55
  7. ITA – SQUIZZATO Antonio: 72
  8. FIN – SALOMAA Niko: 79
  9. ESP – MONTES VORCY Arturo: 82
  10. CAN – MILLAR Bruce: 83

SKUD-18 (Two-Person Keelboat, Top 10): 

  1. AUS – FITZGIBBON Daniel, TESCH Liesl: 12
  2. CAN – MCROBERTS John, GAY Jackie: 34
  3. GBR – RICKHAM Alexandra, BIRRELL Niki: 36
  4. POL – GIBES Monika, CICHOCKI Piotr: 37
  5. USA – PORTEOUS Ryan, MCKINNON Maureen: 51
  6. ITA – GUALANDRIS Marco Carlo, ZANETTI Marta: 56
  7. NED – SCHRAMA Rolf, NAP Sandra: 68
  8. BRA – LANDGRAF Bruno, DE ALMEIDA Marinalva: 74
  9. ESP – ROIG ALZAMORA Sergi, DEL REINO Violeta: 78
  10. SIN – TAN Wei Qiang Jovin, YAP Qian Yin: 92




The Rio Report daily newsletter recapped news about the US Paralympic Sailing Team during Rio 2016. Each issue is packed with articles, photos and videos from Marina da Gloria and the Games racecourses.

the rio report september 17th
 The Rio Report, Sept 17
  • Sonar Special Edition: Silver for Doerr, Kendell and Freund at Paralympic Games
  • Latest Photos
  • Results
the rio report september 16th
 The Rio Report, Sept 16
  • U.S. Paralympic Sonar, 2.4mR Will Challenge for Medals On Saturday
  • Viewing Guide
  • Meet the Team
  • Latest Photos
  • Results

 The Rio Report, Sept 15

  • U.S. Para Team Battles At The Top As Regatta Enters Final Stage
  • Viewing Guide
  • Meet the Team
  • Lastest Photos
the rio report september 14h

The Rio Report, Sept 14

  • Day 3: Team USA Sonar Climbs Leaderboard
  • VIDEO: Doerr Kendell and Freund Recap Successful Day
  • Latest Photos
  • Viewing Guide
  • Meet The Team

The Rio Report, Sept 13

  • Day 2: Light Winds Challenge Para Fleets
  • Viewing Guide
  • Meet The Team
  • Today’s Results
  • Latest Photos

The Rio Report, Sept 12

  • Day 1: Team USA Top Six In All Para Classes
  • VIDEO: Special Message from The Olympic Team to the Paralympic Team
  • Photos

The Rio Report, Sept 11

  • Opening Paralympic Races Set For Monday
  • Viewing Guide: U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team
  • Adams: Reflections on the 2016 Olympics
  • Photos


Sonar (Paralympic Three Person Keelboat):


SKUD-18 (Paralympic Two Person Keelboat):


2.4mR (Paralympic One Person Keelboat):



rio 2016 us sailing