Although the final regatta of the US Olympic Trials is still going on, seven sailors have already been named to the US Olympic Team. Best of all, most qualified the USA at the same time.
Here’s how it works: the top US sailor at two Trials events is selected for the 2012 Games. But except for host Britain, countries must also qualify, which requires placing in the top 75 percent of countries in each discipline at Perth 2011. The numbers vary for each class, but the pressure is the same: sailors named to the Olympic Team don’t get to go if they can’t earn a country slot.
Brother and sister duo Zach and Paige Railey will be going to the Olympics together in the Finn and Laser Radial, thanks to a ninth and third overall in their respective classes. Zach won a silver medal at the 2008 Games; 2012 will be the first Olympic event for his sister. “I think the excitement of winning a bronze in the medal race is all over and it’s starting to sink in that my brother and I are going to the Olympics. It’s pretty exciting,” said Paige after finishing up her regatta in Perth.
Also winning both country slot and Trials were Olympic veterans Stu McNay and Graham Biehl, who sailed the 2008 Olympics together and are currently ranked fifth internationally in the Men's 470 class. They were disappointed by their 13th place finish in the 80-boat fleet in Perth. “We know we can sail much better than that,” said Biehl. “But, at the end of the day we’re going to the Olympics and we’re pretty psyched about that.”
Farrah Hall will also be named to the 2012 Olympic Team as the Women’s RS:X representative, but she still has to earn the USA a country slot at the RS:X World Championship in March 2012.
Most recently, Erik Storck and Trevor Moore qualified the USA for a slot in the 49er class, by securing a slot in the Gold Fleet. But they’re not completely satisfied with their current position of 13th overall. “We just wish we had a better position going into gold,” said Storck. “We are six points out of the medal race and a lot of racing left.”
For a complete list of Trials competitors, check out the USSTAG Trials Tracker which has been updated with the above information.
Perth 2011 spans a marathon fourteen days, but only one event, women’s match racing, stretches over both weeks. After guaranteeing the USA a country slot last week, Team McLaren (Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Cappozzi) have now qualified themselves for the regatta semi-finals. (The Women’s Match Racing Trials will wrap up in May.) Stay tuned for more great sailing from our US athletes!
Photos courtesy US Sailing Team Alphagraphics.
Perth 2011 Results
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