Tokyo 2020: Nation before self

Published on October 9th, 2019

When the Mixed Multihull event was introduced for the Rio 2016 Olympics, it was a new class with a new gender format. National programs got to work pairing up people to learn how to tackle this new competition, and for the USA, it hadn’t been going too well.

However, a late arriving duo gotten into the Nacra 17 Class, won the qualifiers, and became a threat to medal at the Games, finishing eighth after breakdowns led to two retirements. But with a solid foundation to build on toward Tokyo 2020, what happened next is what happens too often for the US Team… the pair did not continue.

So as the top international teams from Rio 2016 remain to build on their success, the USA program starts over. That’s the bad news. The good news is the US has something that needs to happen more often, which is depth in a group of teams, and cooperation as the teams work together toward improvement.

This was on display as these three US teams campaigning in the Nacra 17 all competed fiercely against one another in the Triple Crown Series, earning prize grants for their performance. But, instead of clinging to this needed money, they had all previously agreed to equally split the grants to continue training as a team.

The US Nacra 17s – Sarah Newberry/ David Liebenberg, Riley Gibbs/ Anna Weiss, and Ravi Parent/ Caroline Atwood – are demonstrating that culture of collaboration needed for the ultimate goal in sight, which is to advance their country against the world. Which team gets to represent the US at Tokyo 2020 is secondary.

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