USA system for 2020 Olympic selection

Published on February 9th, 2020

Selecting the best athletes for Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on the mind of every nation that has qualified to compete among the ten sailing events. Determining the best approach varies from subjective analysis to a strict points based system.

During an era when Olympic Classes flourished in the USA, selection for the US Sailing Team was done much like other sports where four years of preparation is measured by performance in a single Olympic Trials event.

These would be held in the USA, were heavily scrutinized, open to only USA sailors, with the winner earning Olympic selection.

But as fleets and participation thinned in the USA, the system shifted after 2008 to now where selection is based on pre-determined open events which ideally advance the best sailors in the type of event conditions that best resemble the wind and waters of the Olympic venue.

It’s a mandate of USA law that there be no subjectivity within the system, and while that is good for athletes to know exactly what it takes to advance, it also allows other scenarios to impact selection.

Gear failure or a collision can eliminate the best athlete from selection, and if points are close, teammates can forget about the regatta score and focus on match racing each other. Neither scenario guarantees the best representative.

The system for 2020 selection is approaching the final event to determine who will get nominated to represent the USA in the Tokyo sailing program. One event remains, and it is the position in that event which will be added to the points total for selection.

Here’s the update:

Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser: 2016 Olympian Charlie Buckingham has an 18 point lead over Chris Barnard going into the 2020 Worlds on February 11-16.
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial: Charlotte Rose has a 3 point edge over 2012 and 2016 Olympian Paige Railey and 12 points on Erika Reineke going into the 2020 Worlds on February 23-28.
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470: 2016 Olympians Stu McNay/ David Hughes have a massive 56 point margin going into the 2020 Worlds on March 12-21.
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470: Atlantic and Nora Brugman are 1 point up on Carmen and Emma Cowles and 3 points ahead of Nikole Barnes/ Lara Dallman-Weiss going into the 2020 Worlds on March 13-21.
Men’s Skiff – 49er* : Nevin Snow/ Dane Wilson have 5 points on Ian Barrows/ Mitchell Kiss going into the 2020 Worlds on February 10-15.
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx: 2016 Olympian Paris Henken with 2008 Olympic medalist Anna Tobias are 4 points ahead of Stephanie Roble/ Maggie Shea going into the 2020 Worlds on February 10-15.
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn: Luke Muller leads 2016 Olympic medalist Caleb Paine by 6 points going into the 2020 Worlds on May 8-16.
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X: 2016 Olympian Pedro Pascual leads 2018 Youth World Champ Geronimo Nores by 12 points going into the 2020 Worlds on February 23-29.
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X: 2012 Olympian Farrah Hall has a massive 38 point margin going into the 2020 Worlds on February 23-29.
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17: Riley Gibbs/ Anna Weis have 9 points on Sarah Newberry/ David Liebenberg and 10 points on Ravi Parent/ Caroline Atwood going into the 2020 Worlds on February 10-15.

* USA is not qualified for in this event but is first in line to claim a forfeited spot from other countries.

US Trials Tracker: https://www.ussailing.org/olympics/selection/olympic-games/2020trials/

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