Gael Pawson, editor of our UK site, uk.boats.com, brings word on the US team presence in Weymouth, and in local print, at the 2012 Games...
I had to chuckle to myself when I heard that elements of the British sailing team were a little miffed at an advertisement by the US team’s clothing supplier, Atlantis WeatherGear. It wasn’t the advert that rankled, but its placement -- on the back cover of a British guide to the games.
We’d put the guide together for Yachts & Yachting magazine in association with the sport’s governing body in the UK, the Royal Yachting Association. Our editorial content was independent, but UK-focused. The advertising space went to the free market – and it was Team USA that stole the show.
“As the battle for maritime supremacy approaches, the colonists are once again underdogs,” the page proclaimed. In some respects the US team is behind its British counterpart… but as the advert demonstrates, the team has done a smart job of making the most of what it’s got.
We all get a bit patriotic when it comes to an event like the Olympics… tending to follow and learn the names of our own country’s athletes, but even here in the UK, a number of the US sailing athletes are familiar names, among sailing fans at least, and the Stars and Stripes are flying high in Weymouth.
It’s not just in Weymouth that Team USA is already making its presence felt. With the opening ceremony a three-hour journey away in London, even the Brits were only sending four of their sailors (the two 470 teams), while the fact that the US is sending the whole team can only send a strong message to all their competitors, as well as strengthening the team spirit: “We’re here. In force. And we plan to impress,” is the message I’m hearing loud and clear.
While the Brits have led the world when it comes to Olympic sailing medals for a while now, the US team has been steadily improving its strength and depth and will catch up. It’s only a matter of time. The Brits know that… Maybe that’s why they’re a little touchy, and are making sure they have an early night!
Racing in the 2012 Olympic Games starts with practice races for the Star and Finn classes in Weymouth tomorrow, Saturday, scheduled to start at 1200 hrs BST. Representing the USA will be Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih in the Star class, and Zach Railey in the Finn.
Eds Note: Gael will be providing special reports on the US Sailing Team throughout the events in Weymouth.