Painful truths about US Olympic Program

Published on February 9th, 2024

The top two Americans at the 2024 ILCA 7 World Championship were 24-year-old twin brothers Ford and Marshall McCann who sat down with Olympian Caleb Paine for his Paineful Truth podcast. It was a brilliant 74-minute conversation which shared their campaign toward the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In this segment by Marshall, he offered some painful truths about the US Olympic Sailing Program:

Two guys that we really looked up to in the Laser class were Charlie Buckingham and Chris Barnard, both California guys that are massively talented. Charlie went to two Olympics and Chris had many amazing achievements, and they stopped Olympic racing with one big message, and that was to not look to US Sailing to fill in any of the gaps in your campaign.

One of the things I could tell younger sailors about as they step up and get recognized by the country, and get asked to be involved, is how they (the Team) will not fill in the gaps that you think you have in your sailing, and you need to figure those out on your own.

It will make you stronger, but the US Sailing Team is not like the British Sailing Team which has lottery funding, or the Australian Sailing Team that has national enthusiasm behind it. So, it is key to recognize that, and how it will be a personal journey to determine how to get started with campaign funding and all sorts of things.

The other side of that is, because the program is not as organized, is not having knowledge transfer. You have to be humble enough at a young age to ask the people ahead of you real honest questions. It can be about housing, or transportation, or sourcing charter boats. This knowledge transfer is so important.

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