It’s been widely reported that this is the first Olympics since 1936 where the US didn’t medal in a single sailing event. But the real performance of the team is worse, even, than that. Using current places for the three events that are not quite complete, it turns out that our average performance across all disciplines was 142 out of 273; that’s not just ‘out of the medals’ – it is the bottom half of the fleet! This despite a budget of something like 3 million dollars per year and a pool of sailors from one of the largest sailing populations in the world.
Just three weeks ago, head coach Kenneth Andreasen said that he thought the US was ready to win a medal in women’s match-racing, the women’s 470, the 49er, the Laser Radial, the Star and the Finn, that he was “really happy with where we are now,” and that “we have both the knowledge and the speed that we need.” Meanwhile, for more than a year, insiders have been telling us that we’d be lucky to get two medals, and that the way the US Sailing Team functions is absolutely broken, from development to coaches to selections to funding.
Will anything change? Should we give a shit? Plenty of discussion already happening; tell us what you think went wrong here.
A very apropos photo from Richard Langdon/oceanimages.co.uk