US Olympic Program in crisis mode

Published on February 28th, 2023

(February 28, 2023) – With the Paris 2024 Olympics less than 17 months away, the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program is in crisis mode.

When the US Sailing Board of Directors decided to restructure the team on February 24, it led to the resignation of Paul Cayard, who was hired in March 2021 as the Executive Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing.

Today more resignations have followed.

• High Performance Coach James Lyne, hired by the team in May 2022, has quit
• Performance Director Leandro Spina, who has been credited for the success of the Olympic Development Program, has quit.
• Senior Coach Luther Carpenter, the longest tenured and among the most successful coaches in Olympic history, has quit.
• Senior Coach Charlie McKee, a two-time Olympic medalist who had previously been the program’s High Performance Director and more recently has been working with kites and skiff, has quit.

In what appears to be a show of support for Cayard, these resignations have essentially dismantled the US Team’s high performance leadership group. In McKee’s letter to the US Sailing Board of Directors, he extends his view of the progress which was occurring:

“The performance team in the Olympic Department has been focused and united in our efforts to get our U.S. athletes to the top of our sport. I have been involved with Olympic Sailing for 40 years as competitor, Olympian, and coach, and I am confident we were on the right track to help our athletes achieve their goals. I strongly believe in what we were all building together, especially our development of cooperative squad training with our dedicated athletes. I would also like to thank Paul Cayard for his inspired leadership. The athletes truly felt and appreciated his vision and support of them, not just professionally but also personally.”

While a search committee was created to fill Cayard’s roles, the list of job openings just got a bit longer.

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11


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