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No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games
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Aug 9, 2012, 11:02 AM

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FAILURE TO PERFORM
The United States won't win an Olympic sailing medal for the first time
since the 1936 Berlin Games. Anna Tunnicliffe, the last American skipper
with a chance, couldn't fight back tears after her run at a second straight
gold medal ended Wednesday.

U.S. Sailing officials on both sides of the Atlantic had blunt assessments
and promised an extensive review of why the Americans were so uncompetitive
in an Olympics in which they were expected to take three or four medals.

"This is not the distinction this team was going for," said Dean Brenner,
the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program. "Listen, there's
no hiding. There's no way to spin it. There's no way to suggest anything
other than we didn't perform."

U.S. Sailing President Gary Jobson, who spent a week watching the games
before returning to Annapolis, Md., was equally blunt, calling the failure
to medal "a heck of a wake-up call."

"In essence, we weren't competitive in any class," Jobson told The
Associated Press by phone.

"I was a little surprised, and, like all American sailors, disappointed,"
Jobson said. "The question for me is, what do we do about it? I can't
predict how the review will go, but I can tell you it's going to be
thorough. This isn't going to stand long-term."

The U.S. has won 59 Olympic sailing medals, the most of any nation,
although its 19 gold medals trail Britain's 26. -- AP, read on:
http://tinyurl.com/AP-080812

MORE: Sailing World editor Stuart Streuli is in Weymouth, and sat down with
Dean Brenner for an interview. "Not the distinction this team was going
for," said Brenner, concerning the team's failure to medal. "There's no
hiding the results. There's no way to spin it, there's no way to suggest
anything other than we didn't perform. There's going to be an enormous
amount of discussion - a lot of it is going to be productive, some of it
probably won't be - on what we did wrong, and what we need to do better,
and I'm going to lead that discussion with my successor Josh Adams, and
we're going to look very, very closely at our program. But make no mistake
about it; we're not proud of these results at all. We came here thinking we
could compete for three or four medals, and we thought the track record
suggested that that was legit. It didn't happen." Much more here:
http://tinyurl.com/SW-080812


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Aug 9, 2012, 11:05 AM

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SKUNKED: Now that North America has been shut out of the medal count, the
quick reaction will be to blame the national team programs. But a close
look is also needed at the entire development path of the North American
sailors, and not just the period of time the sailors are elected to the
national team. Like in school, some students are simply better prepared for
college than others. If the focus for a sailor is to excel in the Olympics,
how does the consensus youth track in North America compare with other
countries?

FUTURE PROSPECTS: The prominent gateway for the Men's and Women's 470
(doublehanded dinghy) is the 420, but only three North American teams, all
American, were at the 2012 World Championship. The top men's team finished
15th out of 36 in the Open event and the lone women's team finished 30th
out of 36. As for the 49er (doublehanded skiff), the gateway is the 29er,
with the top team (USA) finishing 9th out of 54 at the 2012 World
Championship.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


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Aug 9, 2012, 11:07 AM

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From Michael Rudnick:
Your reporting that only 3 USA teams were at the I420 World Championship
in Austria last week is not correct. The US had 12 teams (6 open and 6 ladies).

Besides the 3 teams that finished in the gold division, as you reported,
the US ladies had a 2nd in Silver fleet (my daughter Megan, who also
finished 11th at ISAFs last month in Ireland), and a 4th in the open silver
fleet (Reinier Eenkema van Dijk, who went to ISAF in 2011).

The top US open team that finishes 15th was also the top open team under 16
years of age - with two time Optimist worlds team member Wade Waddell at
the helm after being in the I-420 for only a few months (which involved
flying to NY/CT every weekend to train with LISOT as there are no I-420s on
his home waters of south Florida)

As I'm sure you know, the US does not place nearly as many sailors in the
gold fleet as most of the European countries - which is directly related to
your comments about the pipeline for Olympic sailors.


* From Peter Commette:
Regarding the comment "Future Prospects" by Scuttlebutt editor
Craig Leweck, if he's saying it's a mistake to lay the blame for the
disappointing U.S. Olympic sailing performance at the feet of our national
programs, I somewhat agree. Much of what Chairman Dean Brenner and his team
did to prepare our Olympic sailors and develop feeder programs for 2012 and
beyond was quite good and insightful. However, with disappointment like
this, it's natural to expect them to re-think all aspects of our system and
implement some needed tweaks.

With regard to Craig's other point, I agree wholeheartedly that one area
for U.S. improvement is the development path for our young doublehanded
sailors feeding into the 470 and other high performance Olympic boats.
That's why, when you referred to our kids' 420 World Championship
performance without the modifier "Club" or "International," you confused an
important issue.

The International 420, so popular in Europe, is a great feeder boat for the
470 and other Olympic class, but the U.S. national and local development
programs instead support the Club 420. Comparatively, the Club 420 teaches
little about tuning, mast bend, and matching different sails to masts and
crew weights. Our kids are challenged at I-420 world competition, and their
pre-470/other Olympic boats' growth stunted, because they rarely sail the
I-420, unless they're in Europe.

In South America, the Snipe fosters the same skills, without the speed, but
it teaches brute hiking. We need to re-think our doublehanded feeder boats
domestically; the 29er is the only good thing we're doing.


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Aug 9, 2012, 11:07 AM

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In Reply To
From Michael Rudnick:
Your reporting that only 3 USA teams were at the I420 World Championship
in Austria last week is not correct. The US had 12 teams (6 open and 6 ladies).



EDITOR'S NOTE: We stand corrected, as we indeed were only looking at the
performance of North American sailors in the Gold Division.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


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Aug 9, 2012, 11:10 AM

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From Gerard Koeppel:
First, regarding participation, there were twelve US teams at the recently completed I420 Worlds in Austria (http://events.sailracer.org/eventsites/entries_embed.asp?eventid=91106); only three made Gold fleets (http://events.sailracer.org/eventsites/results_420.asp?eventid=91106). Many of these teams are spending most of their summer in Europe, competing at Kiel Race Week (5 teams), Youth Worlds in Dublin (2), French Nationals (6), Worlds in Austria (12), and the upcoming Junior Europeans in Italy (7): a Five Nation Army in stars and stripes (apologies, Jack White, I couldn't resist). A Greek coach, who has also coached many of these US kids in regattas and clinics, has noted the high numbers of US kids competing in Europe this summer.

While the results so far have been disappointing to many of the sailors who are used to doing better, there have been a couple of podium spots (a third at French, a first in the Under-16 category at Worlds) and substantial, invaluable learning across the board. Their coaches this summer have included a top US collegiate coach who was a collegiate All-American and a US Olympic coach; a coach of previous trophy-winning US and international teams who was a top-five ISAF ranked sailor in two classes and a Smythe winner; and a champion 470 sailor who is the regular coach for many of the sailors with LISOT, the year-round training team founded in 2003 for junior sailors in Western Long Island Sound who are looking beyond their eight-week yacht club summer programs. US I420 kids are sailing in Europe under several banners: USSailing (Youth Worlds), the USI420 Association (Worlds, Junior Europeans), and LISOT (Kiel, French)

Now, some response to the points you raise. Of the couple dozen US juniors sailing 420s in Europe this summer who are college-age this fall or next, I know of one team that is postponing college to start a 2016 Olympic campaign (in 470s). The vast majority are headed to college this year or next, some of them highly recruited for college teams they and the coaches hope will be national champions. Some of these sailors may shoot for 2020 after college but for the next four years they will be largely off the international circuit and may wind up where most of racing American sailors are: around the yacht club buoys and/or the blue water rhumb line.

An enduring issue in US youth (and other) sailing is participation versus performance, engagement versus excellence: Do we want more kids to participate and grow the sport, or do we focus on the truly outstanding racers and let the others migrate to club racing or other sports. US youth racing starts with participation medals in Opti Green fleets; at what if any point should the likeliest future Olympians be separated or (self-)selected from the pack? At this year's I420 Youth Worlds Qualifier, the winning boy team secured its place with a first in the final race, after a long postponement and a general recall, overcoming the leading team which had its single bad race of the regatta. With that race, the winning team became a member of the USSailing Youth Development Team, was invited to a training session with the Olympic team in Colorado, got sponsored and discounted gear, and represented US Boys at Youth Worlds. With the experience, this team tasted Olympic-type sailing and has been inspired to consider 2020. In winning the qualifier, this team beat, among others, the previous year's winner. Next year, both will compete again. A different winner may emerge. Thus, three possible future Olympians...or just three teams that happened to have a good regatta? Maybe the teams that finish third or seventh may turn out to be the Olympians.

US junior sailors are almost entirely self-supported. The situation is different for other countries, especially Southeast Asians. Look at the results in Worlds Ladies Gold. The Chilean team, the country's only representative, are fierce competitors (their coach is an occasional coach of many of the US kids, through LISOT). The Chile girls are entirely self-supported. In the final race, they lost their overall lead by a point to a team from Singapore, giving Singapore a 1, 3, 4 (and a 33) for the event. The Singapore sailors sail for their nation, the government of which nurtures, fosters, supports, and rewards them. I'm not expressing an opinion here. I'm just stating facts: this is what US (and other self-supported) sailors are competing against.

Readers interested in following the progress of US I420 (and C420 and Opti sailors) can check out the Facebook page of LISOT. Most of US I420 sailors competing in Europe this summer train with LISOT, which now attracts sailors from around the US (the top US I420 Worlds skipper came up from Florida many Spring weekends to train). In a country that lacks a national infrastructure to develop future Olympians from their Opti years, LISOT is the closest thing we have to a national youth training team for 420s.

Hope these comments add to what is an ongoing discussion of how and why US sailors compete in the world. I will now find a boat cover to hide under until the usual storm of alternate views blows over...




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Aug 9, 2012, 11:48 AM

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From William Sandberg:
As the NY Times article this morning said, "And the gold medal for whining goes to....".

I feel compelled to stand up for my friend Dean Brenner, US Olympic Sailing Team Chairman, who is, and will be, the object of many personal attacks. I have worked with Dean for the last 8 years, helping to raise funds for the Olympic and Paralympic sailing teams. That's right. Eight years. Longer than anyone has held that position as far as I know. A position that is basically a volunteer one. A position that Dean has poured his heart and soul into, not to mention the hours away from his business and family.

As Dean himself said going into the Games, "in the end, it's all about the medals." And for the first time since 1932, the US has not won an Olympic medal in sailing. So the naysayers say the program is an abysmal failure.

However, let's look at some of the accomplishments during Dean's leadership.
1) Funding has never been higher, although there is plenty of room for increases there. When AlphaGraphics chose not to continue their team sponsorship, they signed Sperry to replace them without missing a beat. When your sport gets zero Olympic TV coverage, it's not easy getting sponsors.
2) We have a youth development team for the first time that will pay dividends in the future. Not only have these young people been identified, but funds have gone for their training.
3) The team members have learned they have to sing for their supper. Athletes have appeared at fundraisers, clinics, youth days and endless other events, acting as great role models for our children and our sport.
4) There is no "I" in this team. They are a team in every sense of the word.
5) The organizational skills that Dean has demonstrated have been nothing short of phenomenal. There are so many parts to this program, it's like a hydra.

Nobody has cared about the team more than Dean. Rather than attack him, we should thank him for his many years of dedicated service. Just as Joe Girardi can't don his catching gear for the Yankees, Dean can't get in the boats and sail. This is not a knock against the team members, who are all suffering greatly today. But they and Dean should not beat themselves up. They tried their best, were terrific ambassadors of our sport and country, and should feel proud of that.

As the head of Swimming Australia said, "This is not the time for blame and scapegoating. This is an opportunity to make the changes required to rise to the international challenge." Challenge the results, but don't make it personal. I consider Dean and many team members friends. They need out support, not our venom.


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Aug 10, 2012, 6:12 AM

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From Peter Commette:
People are wailing and gnashing their teeth over the U.S. Olympic results. Lamenting. Pointing fingers. But whose effort was this? It belongs to those who put in the sacrifice: Dean Brenner, Kenneth Andreasen, our other coaches, our sailors, the ones our sailors beat to get there, and all of their families. It was their effort. Their sacrifice. Not ours.

They are the only ones who have a right to be upset or be Monday Morning Quarterbacks. All of them worked their butts off, more than we know or can appreciate. Have you looked at Dean's daily reports (as the wheels were coming off)? Totally upbeat, positive, as a leader's message should be. Anna, Paige, Stu, Graham, Sarah, Amanda, Trevor, Erik, Mark; all of them showed champions' attitudes in their blogs all the way through. I look up to them for what they accomplished and how they handled their abject disappointment. True champions.

I finished 11th in the Olympics and left the Games immediately after. I hope no one on our team makes the same mistake. I hope they go immediately to the Olympic Village; live it up; attend the Closing Ceremonies; celebrate with other athletes the end of a hard, well-fought fight. They earned this unique experience and celebration. The US will come back strong in 2016, thanks to their efforts in 2012. It's not that, "We weren't competitive in any class," but rather, "We will improve in every class thanks to the path blazed for us by our 2012 team."


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Aug 11, 2012, 8:46 AM

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Aug 13, 2012, 7:37 AM

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From Jan Visser, Olympia, WA:
As I have read over the past few days the various comments regarding Olympic wins or lack thereof, I have given some long careful thought to how our sailors get there. Sailing is expensive, there is no doubt about it, and if the US could support its athletes, I am sure the outcomes would be very different.

Living in the Northwest with Canadian neighbors and friends in the sailing world, we have the opportunity to see young men and women excel in the sport. In the run up to 2012, I was able to see very good sailors take a long hard look at the expense and just say no.

Athletes in other sports seem to express the same thoughts. News reports tell of families with financial hardships (gymnast Gabby Douglass, swimmer Ryan Lochte, etc), and these are the stories of many medalists; those who do not make it to the podium are not heard from. It is a sad day when we spend more on war than on some of the best the U.S. has to present to the world in the competition of the Games.


From Craig Fletcher:
I strongly disagree with Peter Commette, who said the failure of the US Team "belongs to those who put in the sacrifice: Dean Brenner, Kenneth Andreasen, our other coaches, our sailors, the ones our sailors beat to get there, and all of their families. It was their effort. Their sacrifice. Not ours."

As Americans we all have a stake in the United States of America's sailing them! We should all be questioning and looking for solutions to our countries poor Olympic results. We cannot be reminded often enough "THERE IS NO I IN TEAM"!


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Aug 13, 2012, 7:37 AM

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While it remains the athlete that succeeds or fails, their performance is a result of the environment wherein their talent as a sailor was developed. So in a way, all Americans are connected to the performance of the U.S. team. Now, the Olympics are not the end all, but for those seeking to represent the U.S. in the future, a new paradigm must be launched which takes a closer look at the skills needed to succeed, with an initiative to gather those skills sooner rather than later. It's not time to work harder. It's time to work smarter.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


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Aug 16, 2012, 4:52 PM

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REVIEW - US OLYMPIC SAILING
Dean Brenner, who has been Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program for
eight years, is stepping down. The position has a two term limit, and his
successor Josh Adams is ready to take over September 1st. Scuttlebutt
editor Craig Leweck spoke to Dean last week about the progress of the team,
its failure to medal at the 2012 Games, and the future of the U.S. program.

* You began this position as a volunteer. How has it evolved?

Except for one instance, the job had always been a part-time volunteer
position. Those were the terms I accepted under in 2004, but we knew right
away that the world of Olympic sailing was becoming more professional, we
needed our sailors to be more full-time, and it is pretty hard to ask a
full-time sailor to be led by part-time leadership. So we were on this path
toward making my position full-time during my entire eight year term. I did
four years of part-time volunteer, and four years in a part-time paid
position, and now my successor will be taking over as a full-time paid
position.

* When looking at the progress of the program, there are two sides: the
sailor side and the administration side. Explain the progress on the later?

When I took over in 2004, our only staff was two administers (Gary Bodie
and Katie Kelly) and two coaches (Skip Whyte and Luther Carpenter). We
didn't even have a Paralympic coach. Now we have a full-time staff of nine
(ten if you include me). I know people may view the growth on the
administrative side as costly, but the growth was a result of the workload,
and if you want to seek out volunteers to fill them, the talent pool
significantly shrinks.

* How important is team performance in terms of seeking team funding?

It is definitely important. I have been saying for eight years that results
matter, so it would be disingenuous for me to change that tune. So yes,
results matter, and I contend that our results for the last eight years
have in general been very good. They weren't good at these Olympics, but
they have been good, and it is important to the funding.

But it is important to keep in mind that we are a program in transition.
There are other elements to the long range plan that we have not executed
yet. For example, the big initiative from a program perspective in the
2005-8 quad was to add sponsorship and learn how to fundraise. We had to
grow our revenue, and we did that. Our budget on an annual basis has grown
400% in the last eight years. It was about a million a year when I took
over and it's about four million now.

Our big initiative this quad was to change our culture, create a supportive
atmosphere, to make our team training more collaborative. This also has a
commercial element to it which gives donors and sponsors something to get
excited about. But there are clearly some other pieces that we haven't
gotten to yet and those are important too.

We need to do a much better job on pipeline development, and we need to do
a much better job on talent retention, so that we can get multiple quads
out of certain people. So we are not there yet, and even if we had won two
or three or four medals, we still would be saying we are not there yet. We
still have a lot of work to do. That hasn't changed.

Read on: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/12/0815/


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Aug 16, 2012, 4:53 PM

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There is one observation that remains certain to me. While the Club Flying Junior and Club 420 may be fine boats to use in the U.S. for youth sailing in general, their simplicity is stifling the development of elite young sailors. Competition in boats of greater complexity, as is done in other countries, and as once was the norm in the U.S., is desperately needed.

- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


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Aug 16, 2012, 4:55 PM

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A NEW PHILOSOPHY IS NEEDED
Ben Barger, who was the U.S. windsurfing representative at the 2008 Olympics, is now focused on supporting all Olympic sailors. He is the ISAF Athletes Commission Chairman, and also an alternate to the USOC Athletes Advisory Council. Here Ben shares his view on some problems within the US Sailing Team.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
There have been two philosophical bullet points that have guided the US Sailing Team

- Development of sailors, not specialists. Olympic events change, and while investing funds to specialize in an event would appear wise, it is a gamble the team cannot afford to make.
- Funding is performance based. Sailors must invest in themselves before the team can invest in them.

However, both these points have adversely affected the team. Let me explain:

Changing events:
The United States is among the most influential countries when it comes to the choice of events at the Olympics. When the multihull was eliminated for the 2012 Olympics, and windsurfing was eliminated for the 2016 Olympics, the U.S. was a leader in making those changes. Not only has these changes cost US Sailing the support of sailors in those classes, but changing events to better suit the perceived U.S. strength is also a gamble. Rather than gambling on change, the U.S. should focus on making a long term investment in the events and its athletes.

Funding:
I agree that the general U.S. policy for athlete funding should always be performance based. However, no funding, as was the case with the windsurfing event, is not ever the right amount. There should be a minimum that each event gets to sustain the basic needs of campaigning, whether that event is at a development stage, has future medal hopes, or is an immediate medal prospect. The U.S. has made a system based on this quad medal hopes only and treated everyone else like a distraction.

The running costs for a medalist program from my experience with other federations is around 500K per class per year and that's not just going to one team but a large team of national competing members. We should have won at least three medals with the US Sailing Team budget ($4 million), but instead we bought coach boats, supported 10 staff members full time and funded a few people in a few classes. We got unlucky in those few classes in London.

The U.S. coaches and staff are paid significantly more what than their European counterparts, in some cases twice as much. Some people think they deserved it, but I believe more money needs to get to the sailors. Only 16% (see attached) of total US Sailing Team money actually gets to athletes pockets. A crying shame.

Development:
Participation will always be lackluster when the costs are so high to be competitive. By having to spend significant funds out of your own pocket to field a professional sailing program, in hopes that your talent is enough to eventually get to the high performance funding, is failed logic. It kills participation. Are the richest American sailors also the most talented?

Future:
Olympic Sailing is a talent race now with money. It's changed a lot over the years, as foreign teams have been able now to increase their spending on systems, not just athletes. The U.S., in my eyes, does accessory services that should only be spent after the basics have been covered, which is to direct sufficient funds to enable the U.S. athletes to properly train and live. Right now, the U.S. Sailing Team pays a year after performing, and only after you competed that year at a certain level and mostly in Europe. More support for the sailors, sooner, will not only help the brightest talents on the team, but will help to grow interest in attracting development team members for future games.


Attachments: 2011 USSTAG REsults for grants.xls (14.7 KB)


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Aug 17, 2012, 12:43 AM

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As a European I have followed the US breast-beating over their lack of sailing medals with interest. I believe that anyone who commits four or more years of their life to an event where you can lose out in the final race because the boat to the right of you chooses the wrong side at the start and won't tack is madness. US sailors should congratulate themselves on making this judgement. More worrying is their lack of participation in the Americas Cup; how many US sailors are there in the US team? And how many were there in the Volvo? Americans are not over interested in European sports (F1, cricket, soccer) and prefer to do their own thing. That is not a disaster - it is a choice and it may have something to do with geography. How far does the average American dinghy sailor have to drive to get to a national regatta? And how do you get your boat to Europe for a world championship?


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Aug 18, 2012, 4:36 AM

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Ben is entitled to his opinions, but his facts are completely false. The statement that only 16% of our budget goes into direct athlete grants is completely false. Ben has no idea what he is talking about. He cites (and posts) one spreadsheet that was not final, and represented only one of several pools of money that benefit our sailors. The real number is far higher than 16%.

Secondly, Ben's assertion that our coaches are paid close to twice their European counterparts is laughable. Our coaches are fairly paid, but nowhere close to double any of the other top country's pay scales. Again, Ben completely lacks any actual fact here.

Finally, Ben sits on the USOC Athlete Advisory Council, whose mission reads in part "to protect the rights of athletes." His decision to post a spreadsheet, without any validation of its accuracy, that included specific athlete names and numbers, was professionally irresponsible. Many of our athletes ask us not to publicize their actual funding numbers, the same way you would ask your employer not to publicly advertise your salary. Ben's desire to publicly criticize the program overwhelmed what should have been his professional responsibility to the athletes he claims to represent.

Dean Brenner
Chairman, US Olympic Sailing Program


BenBarger
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Aug 18, 2012, 10:44 AM

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Response to Dean Brenner:

I believe 100% transparency of organizational cash-flows, not defense of privacy is the way to run a non for profit. By being the head of the organization, it's natural that you will bare the brunt of the failures and successes. I do like you as a person, but I disagree with your general leadership philosophy, which is what the heart of this article is about.

Could you post the actual dollar amount of cash in pocket that gets to sailors on the US Sailing Team? I believed from the transparent funding system based on results you created, and what I always got paid- the spreadsheet was factually correct. (See the two attachments for funding levels and the amount paid) Is there something else that wasn't disclosed that you'd like to point out? I was on the US Sailing Team for nearly 10 years, US number one for 7 of those years, I believe I have seen enough to call out what i believe is wrong, which is athletes getting way too little financial support while staff and other spending has been increased substantially.

In regards to salary, your's is publicly available as required by law for non for profits in the form 990's. Dean, could you please explain why you as the Chair of the Olympic Sailing Committee, which was an unpaid position before you arrived, now gets paid $125,000 per year? Case in point why I think staff get overpaid compared to their European Counterparts.
http://about.ussailing.org/...ut/2010+Form+990.pdf Page 40

Speaking generally: Athletes are living below the poverty line, going bankrupt to pursue their Olympic dreams. I believe their needs to be a defining change in the way athletes are funded and sailing isn't alone in this struggle. I don't like it when people are taken advantage of, and to this I will continue to fight for all athletes with an Olympic dream. Many of these reasons is the motivation to why I hold the positions of office I do, and I will continue to push on with within the USOC AAC and the task force I am a founding member of to change this philosophy.



Attachments: US Sailing Team Commercial Agreement funding 2011.jpg (82.0 KB)
  US Sailing Team Athlete Agreement Funding levels.jpg (103 KB)


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Aug 19, 2012, 3:48 PM

Post #17 of 21 (16994 views)
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Re: [BenBarger] No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Chris Boome, San Francisco

I have to take exception to Mr. Brenner's comment that:

"So yes, results matter, and I contend that our results for the last eight years have in general been very good. They weren't good at these Olympics, but they have been good, and it is important to the funding."

The results when Mr. Brenner took over were far better than they were after he took over with the exception of Anna Tunnicliffe and Zach Railey in 2008 and to a lesser extent the Women's keelboat results.

I am in no way saying that Mr. Brenner was to blame and I can't even imagine the enormity of the task to turn this around, but we already have more than enough BS going on with this being an election year.

We should not have to listen to those kinds of comments about our sport also. Let's start off by at least being able to admit that whatever we are doing is just not good enough rather than trying to say things have been "good".

Results from the past three Olympiads
CLASS - 2004 - 2008 - 2012
Finn - 11 - 2 - 12
Laser - 8 - 26 - 29
Radial (Europe 2004) - 14 - 1 - 8
Star - 5 - 11 - 7
470 Men - 1 - 13 - 14
470 Women - 5 - 12 - 9
49er - 5 - 6 - 15
Men's Sailboard - 28 - 26 - 22
Women's Sailboard - 16 - 26 - 20
Women's Keel 10 - 7 - 5
Tornado - 2 - 15 - N/A


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Aug 20, 2012, 11:27 AM

Post #18 of 21 (16212 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Chip Croft:
Until sailing becomes more PROACTIVE in including non-whites, it will always be a minor sport in the U.S. with no growth and lacking the talent that could make the U.S. amazingly competitive in the Olympics. Look what Tiger Woods and Serena and Venus Williams did for their sports. Where is the Gabby Douglas of sailing? They massively increased the popularity of their sports. Where are their counterparts in sailing?

Look at all the major sports in the U.S. - they are wonderfully diverse. Now look at sailing. Look around the next sailboat show and see how white the crowd is. Sailing is a dead sport until it catches up in including the rest of the athletes in the U.S. and it is a very long way from it.


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Aug 20, 2012, 11:28 AM

Post #19 of 21 (16211 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

THIS IS SO AUSTRALIAN
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who dominated the Men's Skiff (49er)
event at the 2012 Olympics, revealed some of the factors behind the
stunning success of the Australian sailing team.

One of the factors behind the sailing team's success, Nathan believes, was
having a social headquarters at a local Weymouth pub for the sailors and
their supporters to get together at the end of each day.

The pub was decorated in green and gold, was showing the sailing coverage
and displaying the medal tally, and once the sailors started winning it was
the centre of a media frenzy.

"It was just an incredible atmosphere and it was half the reason why I
think the team did so well, is that everyone was there having fun," Nathan
says. -- Full report:
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/08/16/3569346.htm

From Geoff Emanuel:
"One of the factors behind the sailing team's success, Nathan believes, was having a social headquarters at a local Weymouth pub for the sailors and their supporters to get together at the end of each day."

Could it be that the U.S. is taking the Olympic training process too seriously, leading to burn out?


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Aug 20, 2012, 5:00 PM

Post #20 of 21 (16087 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Bill Canfield:
Once the dust settles and US Sailing starts to break down their weak performance at the Olympics, I’m sure the chant will begin again “blame it all on college sailing”. But the facts are that college sailing allows our young sailors to do the type of sailing that they enjoy, that is, “competitive sailing with friends who may even dare to drink a beer together after the regatta”.

The college racing schedule offers them team racing and match racing to break up the monotony of the tedious W/L fleet racing that the rest of the world thrives on. Don’t blame college sailing because it allows our young sailors to do the type of sailing they love. Isn’t that what it is supposed to be about?

There are no impediments that prevent our student sailors to break the mould and to start practicing right after the Optimists in pertinent one-design classes that have meaning internationally and a track to the Olympics. However, our sailors universally reject this idea. Why is that? To me the answers are easy...

- Funding - if your parents are not very rich it just is not going to happen in the US. So we have eliminated 90% of the possible athletes right off the bat
- Education - I don’t know for sure but I wonder how many of the medal winners in 2012 have a college education. I think we just eliminated another 9% of potential Olympic sailors as most US kids want to go to college.

Quite honestly, I believe it is really only 1% of our young sailors who fit into the mould of a legitimate European type American Olympic medal contender. Rich and Stupid!


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Sep 5, 2012, 12:45 PM

Post #21 of 21 (13774 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] No medals for US Sailing Team at 2012 Games [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

We don't typically post information without attribution, but this info came from a respected coach - not working for the US team - who would not allow it. Given the choice of deleting it or sharing it, we chose the later:

When your rules are "go to Europe, get some top 50% results and we will give you money" (USST under Dean), you get trust fund babies on your team.

If your vision is "go out and find the top US sailors (junior and senior) and offer them money to race with great coaching (not the $350/day Euro coaches the USST paid this time) your base will expand.

If you are arrogant and want only your "team" to win the US Olympic Trials, you make it virtually impossible for anyone to qualify for the US Trials by making the qualifying 4 regattas, one in the US and the other 3 in Europe, after which the US Trials will consist of another regatta in Europe and one in Australia. In a Laser the overseas regattas are $15,000 each with a coach. Of course you fund your team so they win.

This is a lot different than the Sam Merrick way of being at all the regattas, visiting with each team, making them feel like they are all part of the big plan, and part of what helped the USA sailors win Medals. To make sure it is your team (Dean's), you cut down the amount of boats on the US Team from 5/class to 2/class, more exclusion.

The GBR program of finding junior talent, as Jim Saltenstall used to, develop it and send it to Europe to develop it more, allows you to plug a Hannah Mills into a 470 with Saskia Clark when Sarah Ayton dropped out in 2011 and still win a Medal.

The US Olympic Committee has to realize that Dean's plan got him a team who drank his Kool Aid, or they were cut off, but not a team which had any chance of winning, save Anna. To reach a goal you have to have a good plan, not a self serving one. The GBR plan is a good one, and it is not all about money.

People whine about GBR money, but GBR takes care of their resources. This is a business, winning Medals, and it has to be run correctly. The question is, who is running the show?? It is more than press releases. This is a top to bottom problem which has to change.

It is a joke to think that the Finn, 49er, Laser Radial, and Woman's 470 had a chance at a Medal. At the 2012 Worlds and Sail For Gold, Zach was 10-4 (Finn), Storck/Moore was 46? -12 (49er), Paige was 9-13? (Laser Radial), and Amanda never made the Medal Race at the 470 Worlds, ever.

Contrast Dean lamenting about the USA bad luck of more wind in the Finn regatta, and less wind in the W470, to the bad luck of the GBR Team in the Medal Race of the Star and M&W 470 losing Gold on the downwind of the poorly conceived Nothe Course.

Anna was the only one I thought had a chance, but she slipped in the past year as other countries received boats, and learned how to sail them.

This was not the sailor's fault, it was managements. Bad coaches and exclusivity cut out potential USA Olympians and doomed this Team.


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