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6 January 2005, 10:06 am
Olympic Sailing Program
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Portsmouth, Rhode Island, USA

US SAILING is kicking off the new year and a new Olympic quadrennium by unveiling an innovative strategic plan for its U.S. Olympic Sailing Program. This plan represents a fundamental shift in the way the Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) will plan for and administer Olympic and Paralympic Sailing in the U.S.
'The U.S. currently has a strong pool of competitive sailors of all ages, a deep history of success in the world of Olympic sailing, and a well-developed infrastructure and management, but we need to initiate some changes if we want to stay ahead of other countries,' says US SAILING President Janet BAXTER (Chicago, Ill.). 'We have taken a fresh look at our Olympic program and determined that there are initiatives we can take now that will keep us on the course of continuing to deliver top sailors to future Olympic Games.'

'We are changing the way we think,' says OSC Chairman Dean BRENNER (Wallingford, Conn.). 'We can no longer afford to think only about the current quad. We are always focused on the next Olympic and Paralympic Games. But while we have one eye on 2008, we have to always have the other eye on 2012, 2016, 2020 and beyond.'

The OSC's Strategic Plan consists of a renewed and heightened focus on the following activities:
1. Generate a national effort to fund an endowment for the Olympic and Paralympic Program. The OSC will be reaching out to business leaders and successful sailors nationwide for support.
2. Create a genuine path to mentor and guide our best junior, high school and college sailors into the Olympic Program.
3. Examine every dollar spent on the Olympic Program to insure that the Olympic Program is leveraging current resources in the best possible way.

The immediate funding initiatives of the OSC's Strategic Plan include more direct funding to elite athletes, more coaching resources for all Olympic and Paralympic Classes, and a special fund to support winners of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials with technology, training partners, etc. 'We have many things we need to solve in our Olympic Program,' says Brenner. 'The competitive landscape in the world of Olympic Sailing has changed, and the model with which we have organized, funded and administered our program is no longer viable. Despite the strong performance our athletes produced in Athens, the fact remains that now is the time to mount a national effort to support our Olympic athletes and those who make the commitment to represent our country.'

In the longer term, going as far as 2024, the OSC's Strategic Plan also includes an annual budget in excess of $10 million a year, the ability to support top-level athletes who want to compete over multiple quadrennia, evolve the Rolex Miami OCR so that it is on par with the best events in the world, and have a vibrant and well-supported youth development program.

The OSC has already kicked into high gear to achieve the goals set for 2008, expanding and strengthening the US Sailing Team's sponsor and supplier programs and creating a new partnership program between members of the Team and yacht clubs across the country. The partner yacht clubs will have opportunities to host clinics and presentations from US Sailing Team-members and coaches while helping to generate support for the Olympic program.

More information on the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program and its strategic plan is available via the link below.

Marlieke de Lange Eaton
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