If we were betting men, we’d start selling short on the US Sailing Team’s Olympic medal hopes right about now after Anna Tunnicliffe’s not-so-shocking announcement earlier this month that she was retiring from her Olympic 49er FX campaign with crew Molly Vandemoer. Insiders have noted Anna’s lack of close connection to her teammates for some time; along with her obsession with CrossFit competition and her becoming one of the fittest humans on the planet, Anna has a non-sailing boyfriend and knows very well how all-consuming a real Olympic effort must be.
Anna is one of those extremely rare people that can do what mommy and daddy always lied to you about; anything she put her mind to. That ultra-rare focus, power, and intensity translated into 1 Olympic Gold Medal, 2 ISAF World Sailor of the Year awards, 2 World Championships, Multiple Podium World Championship finishes, and a lot of World Cup titles for Anna, who’ll be remembered as one of America’s top sailors – if not the best – of the past decade. She’s not gone forever; we anticipate we may see Anna on some big boats and maybe more of the Extreme Sailing Series-style stuff. But with one of America’s only proven winners now out of the Olympic game, weak results from the rest of the team in recent World Cup level-events, and a decidedly pessimistic feel from much of the US Sailing Team lamenting too much of the ‘same old, same old,” a rapidly-approaching Brazil is not looking good for the Red, White, and Blue. Maybe Josh and Charlie have something special up their sleeves – we’ve just confirmed that they’re about to sign the papers on a brand-new US Sailing Team Training Center based out of the Clearwater (FL) Community Sailing Center – but that just sounds like more of the ‘divide and be conquered’ approach that so humiliated American sailing in Weymouth.
And those who don’t know what the title reference means, remember that her nickname has long been ‘tuna’, and then go to a fucking library.