USA Olympic Qualifying System for 2016 Games

Published on December 16th, 2014

US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) has released the selection procedures for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team (Sailing) in the 10 events selected for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad will take place from August 5-21, 2016, and the sailing events will be based at Marina de Gloria on Rio de Janeiro’s harbor front.

2014-12-16_14-29-32Benjamin Richardson (Gloucester, Mass.), Chairman of the US Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC), checks in with some thoughts on the selection system (also known as the Olympic trials) for the sailing events of Rio 2016:

From 2008 to 2012, the US went from a one-event domestic selection system to a two-event international system that tested athletes against the world’s best as well as their US competitors. How does the Rio 2016 system compare to the London 2012 system?

Richardson: “We [the OSC] felt that there was a lot we got right with our selection process last time around and remained committed to using multiple international regattas to provide a large sample of racing in highly competitive fleets, but that we needed to change a few things. In 2012, the first qualification event was probably too early in the Olympic quadrennium, and the system ended early. Our focus this time was to keep more athletes training hard until 2016 and select the team in what we feel is an optimum timeframe in the first part of the Games year. Finally, we wanted to approach each class differently based on its own schedule.”

Describe the selection events for Rio 2016.

Richardson: “These are regattas that anyone training full-time for the Olympic Games will go to anyway, selection event or not. One of our guiding principles was not to let the Olympic Trials process get in the way of our athletes succeeding at The Games. We didn’t want the regattas involved in the selection process to be a distraction.”

How did domestic events factor into forming the Rio 2016 selection process?

Richardson: “There is no question that our hope was to include a domestic regatta as part of the trials process for as many classes as we could. Given that we have a great international regatta like ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami that we host here in the US, it became the obvious default domestic event for us to work with. Only in the case of the 470’s did we not include a domestic event, due to the proximity of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami to the 470 World Championships in 2016.

How does our selection process for Rio 2016 compare to that of other nations?

Richardson: “The OSC elected not to use a discretionary or committee-based selection system for Rio 2016, as several other countries will do. Our team will be determined exclusively by results at top-tier events in early 2016. We had one goal in this process, and that was to implement a fair selection system that allows the top fifteen athletes to distinguish themselves while giving them the best chance of success in Rio 2016.

What should people know about how the Olympic Trials system is determined?

Richardson: “The OSC has been working on the US Olympic Team selection criteria for close to two years. We came to several conclusions that we felt strongly about, and we are confident in the selection criteria that has been released.”

USA Qualifying System for 2016 Games
Athletes seeking to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team (Sailing) will have the opportunity to do so based on their combined performance at two major international events per class. Selection events for US athletes will include the following:

Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X Men, RS:X Women, and Finn Classes:
– First Event: ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Miami, Florida, January 25–30, 2016
– Second Event: Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, late March, 2016

470 Men and 470 Women Classes:
– First Event: World Championships, San Isidro, Argentina, February 2016
– Second Event: 470 Europeans, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, March 18-25, 2016

49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Classes:
– First Event: ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Miami, Florida, January 25–30, 2016
– Second Event: World Championships, Clearwater, Florida, February 7 –14, 2016

Scoring: Final overall finishing positions from each event – First Event and Second Event per class – will be recorded by boat. A series score will be generated using a low point scoring system counting finishing positions including international teams at both events. For example, if an athlete finishes 5th in his/her First Event, but is the first US finisher, he/she receives 5 points towards his/her overall score. Example of a boat’s series score, with finishes of 5th (First Event) and 3rd (Second Event): 5 + 3 = 8. The US boat with the lowest series score will be the 2016 Olympic Games Team nominee(s) to the USOC. In the event of a tie, the highest finishing US boat involved in the tie at the Second Event will be the 2016 Olympic Games Team nominee(s) to the USOC.

Specific selection procedures: CLICK HERE

The 10 sailing classes selected for the 2016 Olympic Games:

•Finn (Heavyweight Dinghy)
•Laser Radial (Women’s One Person Dinghy)
•Laser (Men’s One Person Dinghy)
•470 Men (Men’s Two Person Dinghy)
•470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy)
•49er (Men’s Two Person Dinghy High Performance)
•49erFX (Women’s Two Person Dinghy High Performance)
•RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer)
•RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer)
•Nacra 17 (Mixed Two Person Multihull)

Additional details HERE

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