For the first time, USSailing is using international events to pick its Olympic Team—just as other countries have done for several years. The two events for most disciplines are June’s Skandia Sail for Gold (in Weymouth England, the site of the Olympics) and December’s ISAF Sailing World Championships (Perth, Australia). In every discipline except Women’s Match Racing, the US athlete(s) with the best combined score from those two events will become our Olympic representative.
Entries for those two events are essentially unlimited for most classes. But that wasn’t certain when the selection procedures were written, so a qualifying series was set up to determine the seeding of athletes (in case we had more sailors than slots).
With me so far?
Fortunately, USSailing has just added a page to the USSTAG website that will make it easy to keep track of your favorite teams. The Trials Tracker allows you to instantly see who is leading each class going into the first Trials event, which is only six weeks away.
Women’s Match Racing will have its own selection event in October, out of Key Biscayne Yacht Club. The top four teams from that regatta will go on to a final Trials in Weymouth in May, 2012. With three teams in the top ten of the international women's match race rankings, it's impossible to pick a favorite.
The third event of the qualifying series starts next week: Semaine Olympic Francaise, known to participants simply by its location: “Hyeres.” USSTAG’s coverage has improved with every event this spring, so make sure to follow along at the designated event page.
Since other countries are also using international events as their Trials, there will be many “regattas within the regatta” right through Perth. Just one more thing for our Olympic hopefuls to keep track of, going into any crowded mark rounding.
Olympic sailing can be a lonely pursuit, and our athletes are smack in the middle of a really intense European season. So if you have a chance next week, make sure to let your favorite team know you’re cheering them on.