Jimmy Spithill knew he and Oracle Team USA deflated a nation when they stormed back to steal an unlikely victory in the 2013 America’s Cup.
Fans in New Zealand thought it was in the bag. Emirates Team New Zealand had jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the best of 17 series and were just one win for taking back the Auld Mug.
Instead, they had to watch as Spithill led his crew past eight times in a row to hoist the Cup. At the time, it was a sweet win for the Australian sailor, but speaking to Martin Devlin, he said he had sympathy for Team NZ’s then-skipper Dean Barker.
“After we crossed that finish line in the last race I did think about it for sure. You could see how he and the team had the whole nation on their shoulders.
“In sporting battles it kind of becomes personal… but when you really look back and reflect on it all, a lot of the time the competitor is the one who’s really pushing you and driving you.
“You can go from literally wanting to kill a guy on the water to becoming pretty good mates with him after.”