AARHUS, DEN (#1084) – In what has to be one of the more surreal press releases in the modern history of the sport, today (Sunday) US SAILING issued this statement headlined, "USA takes Home Gold in Women's Formula Kite at 2018 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark." Not exactly a surprise, and congrats to the superb Daniela Moroz (San Francisco) on her third world kite surfing title.
But kiting is not an Olympic event until 2024 at the earliest, and what we wanted to know was how the USA did in Aarhus for the ten Olympic Classes that will be raced at the 2020 Olympics in Japan. After fully seven paragraphs one reads, "A total of 1,400 athletes from 85 nations, across 10 Olympic classes and 2 Formula Kite classes made the entire regatta experience feel as immense as the Olympic Sailing event."
As immense as the Olympics. Wow. So how'd we do?
Yet another thirteen paragraphs later we learn that, "Though the USA set out to attempt country qualifications for many of the classes, a difficult feat in itself, the effort of the US Sailing Team, support staff, and coaches created an environment of openness, which helped to identify weaknesses."
In the next paragraph we learn from Malcolm Page, the USA's Chief of Olympic Sailing, how he feels. "I feel it’s great to know where we actually are competitively, and what our deficiencies are clear two years out, rather than closer to the [Olympic] Games,” said Page. “It’s important to get those down so we can refocus next year, and be more complete competitors.” (Photo of Mr Page at the top of this post is courtesy of US SAILING.)
Enough! How many medals did USA sailors win?
Zero medals in the ten Olympic Classes. Zilch. Indeed, only two USA teams made it into the medal races (top ten).
At least USA sailors in three classes finished high enough in World Sailing's quota system to assure the USA will get entries in the Laser Radial, Laser and 470. These three spots are thanks to the concerted efforts of veterans Paige Railey (5th, Laser Radial), Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (7th, 470) and Charlie Buckingham (11th, Laser). Thankfully there are additional events in the next year at which the USA can possibly qualify for 2020 entries in the other seven classes.
For one, your Ed. is confident that Caleb Paine (San Diego / San Francisco) will get back up to speed in the Finn Class in which he won the bronze medal at Rio in 2016 – the USA's only medal in the past two Olympiads. Caleb finished 12th in Aarhus.
The penultimate paragraph was perhaps the most bizarre. "The improvements and management style Page has instilled on the team shaped by his experiences as two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 470 class has created a sense of authenticity in the program."
A "sense of authenticity?" More authentic are the medals that 18 other countries "walked away with" in the ten Olympic Classes:
NED - 6
FRA - 4
AUS - 2
GER - 2
GBR - 2
JPN - 2
ESP - 2
ARG - 1
BEL - 1
CHN - 1
CRO - 1
CYP - 1
DEN - 1
HUN - 1
ITA - 1
SWE - 1
Congrats, at least, to Daniela Moroz (USA, San Francisco) who won gold in the non-Olympic Women's Kite Surfing Class at Aarhus. Photo courtesy of World Sailing.