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30 December 2005, 12:40 pm
2005 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Year in Review
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There have been some great individual performances on the water from the US Sailing Team in 2005. Sailors have put up 30 podium results in major Olympic and Paralympic Class events this past year, including four World Championships and the USA currently has the reigning World Champion in three of the 14 Olympic and Paralympic Class events.
Chair of US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee, Dean BRENNER reflects on the past twelve months…

'There have been some great individual performances on the water from the US Sailing Team in 2005. Our sailors have put up 30 podium results in major Olympic and Paralympic Class events this past year, including four World Championships. The U.S. currently has the reigning World Champion in 3 of the 14 Olympic and Paralympic Class events. Paige RAILEY has dominated the Laser Radial Class winning the Worlds, Europeans, Youth Worlds, and a host of other events. Sally BARKOW, Deb CAPOZZI and Carrie HOWE have won almost everything they've sailed this year, including the Yngling World Championship, the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, and US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship. And Nick SCANDONE made a huge statement with his victory in the 2.4mR Open World Championship.

'In addition, U.S. sailors put up great results in the 49er, 470, Tornado, Star, 2.4mR, and Laser. We have some athletes who have been around for a while who are still performing at a high level, and we also have a new generation of talent that has stepped up and begun to establish their own identity. This has been a great year on the water for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Programme, and our athletes deserve enormous credit for committing to Olympic Sailing and delivering results.

'In addition, our Programme has had some other goals and initiatives we have been pursuing, all driven by our desire to provide better support for our athletes on the water. One year ago, the new Olympic Sailing Committee took on the task of making dramatic improvements in the U.S. Olympic Sailing Programme. Today, one year into the current quad, the U.S. Olympic Programme is healthy and strong.

'We have begun to deliver on our Programme's four strategic goals:

1. Make dramatic increases in funding. Our 2006 budget will be 20% larger than 2005, and we have raised more than $750,000 in gifts and pledges in 2005.

2. Manage our existing resources better. We squeezed every dollar out of the 2005 budget and redirected an unprecedented amount of money directly into our athletes' pockets. Almost 75% of every dollar goes DIRECTLY to our athletes, and the rest of the budget also contains many other direct and indirect benefits as well. We finished 2005 ahead of budget on BOTH revenues and expenses.

3. Put everyone in the Programme on the same page. We have worked very hard to open the lines of communication with our athletes, coaches, donors, sponsors, staff and volunteers. It is paying off. We have a clear direction. We have good communication. And our athletes are telling us they like where we are going. Many of our top athletes have given us testimonials and endorsements about the Programme that are helping us raise funds.

4. Focus on Youth Development. In 2006 we will be rolling out a major fundraising initiative specifically focused on Youth Development. We spent 2005 asking a lot of questions, doing a lot of thinking and making significant plans.

'We also continue to have a fantastic family of corporate sponsors - Rolex Watch U.S.A., Vanguard Sailboats, Nautica, Gill, Extrasport, Harken, Team McLube, New England Ropes, Nikon, Sperry Top-Sider, Vineyard Vines and Zodiac. They give us critical forms of support, and we are forever grateful of their support. But we need to keep improving our Programme and our product so that we can grow this family.

'We have plenty of work left to do. We need to keep increasing our budget. We have many athletes who are not yet getting the support they need. We need more coaching. We need a lot more things. But we are now pointing towards the windward mark and making great progress every day. We are managing our resources well and have a great message that is resonating with donors, supporters and corporate sponsors.

'The Olympic and Paralympic Games are less than three years away. We'll be ready.'

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