Hungry to Make Massive Gains

Published on August 15th, 2018

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
There are four stages to an Olympic campaign. The first stage is learning the basics of the boat, the second stage is occasionally scaring the top seeds, the third stage is to consistently perform at the front of the fleet, and the fourth stage is being a favorite to win.

While simple in concept, the path is not always forward, and the best measure of progress is always when the chips are all in.

Since the Olympics only offer that measure every fourth year, the Sailing World Championships (also held every four years) provide a mid-term test in a setting that is every bit fraught with the kind of distraction that can derail the seemingly most prepared.

If the recently held 2018 Sailing Worlds pointed out anything for the US Team, it’s that the next two years are the difference between standing on the podium and being a face in the crowd. Very few are at the third stage and arguably nobody at the fourth.

With 30 medals up for grabs, the USA was not among the 18 countries that earned the honor. Looking at their top result in each of the 10 events, USA was in the top 10 in two events, in the top 20 in two more, with the balance of the best in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and (eek) 50s.

While it was promising to see Paige Railey leading the Laser Radial at one stage, there wasn’t much over performing on the squad and many cases of underperforming. Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea, who finished 5th at the 49erFX European Championship a month earlier, share their sentiment after finishing 25th out of 60 teams:

“This result doesn’t properly represent all of the prep we put into this event over the last year. We started the event with our minds, bodies, equipment and all things we could control in the best shape. Yes, it was very tricky conditions but it was tricky for everyone. This finish is a good reminder of how much we respect our competition.

“We cannot sulk in sadness or look for excuses. We simply didn’t perform. We are holding our heads high knowing that we are capable of so much more and leaving our stomachs hungry to make massive gains this winter. We will now head home for some time off to decompress from a six month European season and reflect on how we can make the next jump to the top. It’s time. It’s right there and we are going to chase it harder than any other team.”

It’s fair to say, since Roble and Shea only started competing in the class in January 2017, their progress is impressive. But they clearly want more, and for USA fans, hopefully the rest of the squad does too.

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