USST: Two of the USA's top Olympic hopefuls, Bora Gulari and Helena Scutt, have pulled the plug
SAN FRANCISCO (#1120) – Sad news but probably no big surprise, given the current state of the USA's overall Olympic Sailing effort, and the other yacht racing opportunities – professional and corinthian – available to both Bora Gulari (USA, Detroit, MI) and Helena Scutt (USA, Kirkland, WA) – to say nothing of their bright career prospects outside of sailing.
Mr Gulari skippered the USA's Nacra 17 entry in the 2016 Rio Games finishing 8th, while Ms Scutt crewed on the USA's 49er FX entry at Rio, finishing 10th. After Rio Bora and Helena teamed up hoping to improve their Olympic medal chances in the newly-foiling Olympic catamaran class. However, their results have been mixed at best, in part due to serious injuries suffered during their respective successful sailing careers, and the desultory funding of the US Sailing Team by the powers that be.
Moreover, Bora has been selected as a member of the New York Yacht Club's 2021 America's Cup team, American Magic. AC teams pay their sailors, whereas Olympic sailors -– at least in the USA – pay to play while largely if not entirely putting their non-sailing careers, and earning powers, on hold.
Both have engineering degrees from two of the nation's top universities: Bora from the University of Michigan, and Helena from Stanford University.
They announced the end of their 2020 campaign with this poignant and well-penned letter posted earlier today on their Gulari Scutt Racing Facebook page:
With heavy hearts we have ended our Gulari Scutt Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign.
For various reasons we couldn’t be at the top of our game on all fronts. Our results were improving, but not at the rate we wanted them to, and we were not enjoying the process enough to continue this fight to gold in 2020 together.
We are proud of our resilience and continuing recoveries from our serious injuries early on. However, carrying on the pursuit of gold together with anything less than our full energy, time investment, and focus is not an option.
Neither one of us is ready to announce next plans, as stepping away from this venture is not something we take lightly.
We are extremely grateful to our sponsors and supporters for their help through thick and thin. It’s hard to comprehend the community effort necessary to support a winning campaign unless you’ve done one, because there are so many aspects to success in racing a double-handed, highly technical boat. We had an incredible team around us.
To our title sponsor, Futuramic, and to All-Ways, Harken, New England Ropes, Zhik, McLube, PROtect Tapes, Ripple Foods, Avasol, and the US Sailing Team and Helly Hansen - thank you.
To St. Francis Sailing Foundation, Bayview Yacht Club, Seattle Yacht Club Foundation, the Sailing Foundation of New York, and Windmark Sailing Foundation - thank you.
To our coaches, the US Sailing Team staff, and the USOC - thank you.
To our friends and families - you’re simply the best.
It is an immense honor and a privilege to have had your support. We are overwhelmed with gratitude, humility and appreciation as we each look to the next chapter.
Helena & Bora