Annie Haeger and Bri Provencha have been at or near the top of the 470 class for the past couple of years, but when it mattered most, their race and the final shot at the US team’s second medal fell to bits. Leading the medal race for the first two marks and looking like a lock for the silver (GBR’s Clark and Saskia-Mills clinched before the final race), the American duo got strung out on the right by eventual silver medalist New Zealand and then sailed a horrible final run, culminating with a foul on Japan and a 360 when they could least afford it, sailing the entire reach to the finish without their kite and catching a DFL for the race.
The NBC feed caught Annie racked with sobs as she sailed through the line, but we hope she takes the lesson to heart and uses the adversity to power her improvement for the next time like all true champions. We still think Annie is probably the most likely of all the US team to come back in Tokyo and win her class. She’ll need to if the US Team is to prove their plan; the team’s better-than-the-London-debacle-but-still-weak performance can only be accepted if it is truly a stepping stone to the US team’s return to dominance in 2020, as we’ve been told by US Sailing Team staff, coaches, and athletes for the past couple of years. If there’s one thing Tokyo guarantees, it’s fewer distractions for the sailors.
You can watch the full replay on NBC over here; just wind back the player to the beginning if it’s already on the Men’s 470 (which the US can’t medal in). Screenshot from the world feed.