US Athletes Selected for Three of Ten Olympic Events

Published on February 15th, 2016

The 2016 World Championship for the Nacra 17, 49er, and 49erFX – the three fastest Olympic sailing events – was held February 9-14 in Clearwater, FL. This event, along with Sailing World Cup Miami in January, decided the representatives in these three events for the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team:

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Helena Scutt (left) and Paris Henken

Women’s Skiff (49erFX) – Paris Henken (Coronado, CA) and Helena Scutt (Kirkland, WA)
Henken (20) and Scutt (23), who won bronze at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, confirmed their nomination when they were the only team to advance in the Gold Flight.

“It doesn’t feel real right now,” said Scutt, who graduated from Stanford University last year after serving as the varsity sailing team co-captain and being named an all-conference crew. “It’s going to take a while to sink in. Eight years ago I was learning how to sail. It’s pretty surreal for me, and I feel very lucky to get to sail with Paris. I know she has something special. I had a little feeling all along.” Full report.

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Joe Morris (left) and Thomas Barrows

Men’s Skiff (49er) – Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Joe Morris (Annapolis, MD)
Barrows and Morris were locked in a tight battle until the final race with Judge Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.), and had to execute a careful plan to defend their lead.

“Our strategy was to stay in contact with Judge and Hans [during today’s races],” said Barrows. “To ensure that they didn’t put too many points in between us, we planned on starting in the same area, and going to the same side of the [race] course with them. It put us in some compromised spots, and made the racing really stressful, but the strategy worked out in the end.” Full report.

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Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee

Mixed Multihull (Nacra 17) – Bora Gulari (Detroit, MI) and Louisa Chafee (Warwick, RI)
Coming in a close second after a hard-fought month of racing was F18 standout Michael Easton (Bedford, Mass.) and America’s Cup veteran Katie Pettibone (Port Huron, Mich.). Two-time Olympian Mark Mendelblatt (Miami Fla.) and his wife Carolina Mandelblatt (Miami, Fla.), also an Olympian, were third among the U.S. teams vying for selection.

“I’m definitely excited, and proud to represent my country,” said Gulari, a two-time Moth World Champion and US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. “I feel like the hard work has just begun. We’ve bought ourselves another six months of sailing together.” Full report.
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USA has qualified to compete in all ten Olympic sailing events, with the US selection series for the remaining seven events to be completed by April. All athletes nominated by US Sailing for the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). The Olympic regatta will take place from August 8-21.

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