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13 October 2006, 09:21 am
Tornados Launch Month Of US Olympic Pre-Trials
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Beijing 2008
San Diego, California, USA

Three-time Olympians and Athens silver medallists John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA) head the Tornado catamaran fleet that leads off US Olympic Trials West on Friday, with three autumn weekends of US SAILING Olympic Pre-Trial events in Southern California.
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A year from now the same venues in San Diego, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Marina del Rey will host the formal Olympic Trials to select the one boat in eight of the eleven classes that will represent the USA in the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition at Qingdao, China.

Pre-Trials for the other three Olympic classes - Laser, Laser Radial and Yngling, plus 2.4 Metre, Sonar and SKUD18 for disabled sailors - are scheduled at Newport, Rhode Island this weekend.

Tornados Start Things Off

San Diego Yacht Club will host the Tornados that are scheduled to sail seven races over Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 1200 each day, conditions permitting. Their race course will be on the open ocean three miles south of the city in the area known as Coronado Roads.

LOVELL and OGLETREE celebrated their 39th birthdays on Wednesday, LOVELL is two hours older, by claiming their record tenth and fourth consecutive U.S. National title in the class since 1993. Although Enrique FIGUEROA and Jorge HERNANDEZ (PUR) finished on top with five first places in eight races, they were not eligible for the U.S. Championship. More on the nationals CLICK HERE.

Winds were seldom stronger than single digits, but that was fine with LOVELL and OGLETREE. They recently placed fourth in the ISAF Grade 2 Qingdao International Regatta, the first Olympic Test Event, where the sailing will be contested in 2008 when they hope to be competing in their fourth Olympics.

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John LOVELL and Charlie
OGLETREE start at the pin in
the light air Tornado nationals
© San Diego Yacht Club

Asked which venue of all they have sailed in around the world compares best to Qingdao, OGLETREE said, 'San Diego. It's light here, and there's some swell and some current. It's not as shifty here. Qingdao has bigger shifts. But we know we need to spend a lot of time between now and the Olympics working on light air, so we'll definitely spend some time here.'

LOVELL and OGLETREE have been sailing together for 13 years, longer than some marriages last.

'That's what our wives say,' OGLETREE said. 'The key is we have a good relationship on the water, and off the water we spend a lot of time together and are really good friends.'

Coming Up Next

Next weekend from 20-22 October the 49ers will be at Southwestern YC in San Diego, the Finns at Newport Harbour YC and the Stars at California YC in Marina del Rey. The spectacle will finish on 26-29 October with four days of racing for the Men's and Women's 470s at the US Sailing Centre in Long Beach and the Men's and Women's RS:X - the new Olympic windsurfing equipment - just down the street at Alamitos Bay YC.

The fleets generally will be small by small boat norms, which is the nature of Olympic Trials. US SAILING ranks the country's Olympic hopefuls by competitive success, and five of the top American Tornados will be racing at San Diego.

For a complete list of all the news about the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games CLICK HERE.

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE on their way to the silver medal in Athens:© Clive MASON/Getty Images
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