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Betsy ALISON, Lee ICYDA & Suzy LEECH (USA)

Betsy ALISON, Lee ICYDA & Suzy LEECH (USA)This American trio have dominated at the top of the ISAF World Rankings in the Yngling since May 2003, having produced a series of top ten results from each of the ISAF Grade 1 and 2 events they have competed in over the past twelve months. Not satisfied in excelling in the women's fleet, they have also conquered the open fleet and claimed the Gold Medal at the Yngling Open World Championship in July 2003.

When not campaigning the Yngling, the trio, with the addition of Dini Hall, are a force to be reckoned with on the Women's Match Racing circuit. Over the period of nomination, they have posted top five results in all the ISAF Graded Match Racing events they have entered and currently rank seventh in the world.

The Achievements of Betsy ALISON, Lee ICYDA & Suzy LEECH (USA)


1st - Osprey Cup (Match), November 2002 - Grade 1
1st - US Women's Match Race Championship (Match), December 2003 - Grade 3
1st - Palm Beach Ocean Regatta, January 2003 - Grade 2
5th - Rolex Miami OCR, February 2003 - Grade 1
3rd - USA Olympic Pre-Trials, February 2003 - Grade 2
7th - Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta, April 2003 - Grade 2
7th - Semaine Olympique Francaise, May 2003 - Grade 1
1st - SPA Regatta, May 2003 - Grade 1
3rd - Santa Maria Cup (Match), May 2003 - Grade 1
5th - Women's Match Racing World Championship (Match), June 2003 - Grade W
8th - Kieler Woche, June 2003 - Grade 1
5th - Swedish Match Cup (Match), July 2003 - Grade 1
1st - Yngling Open World Championship, July 2003 - Ungraded
5th - 2003 ISAF World Championship - Yngling, September 2003 - Grade W

ISAF World Sailing Ranking - Women's Keelboat Yngling (1 Oct 2003) = 1
ISAF Women's Match Race Ranking (11 Sept 2003) = 7


Name Betsy ALISON Lee Aiko ICYDA Suzy LEECH
Date of Birth 22000 39352 24469
Place of Birth New Jersey, USA Stuart, FL, USA Greenwich, CT, USA
Profession Sailing Coach, television co-host Full time Sailor Sailor/Database programme
ISAF Sailor ID USAEA1 USALI1 USASL3
Website www.challengeus.org www.challengeus.org www.challengeus.org
Age started sailing 8 15 3-4 with my parents
First boat sailed Sunfish 420 Etchells 24
Age started racing 9 15 21
First boat raced Sunfish 420 IMS/PHRF boats in Annapolis
What inspired you to take up sailing? Parental involvement and encouragement After my competitive days in equestrian eventing were over, my family encouraged me to give sailing a try. It took less than an hour to figure out it was the perfect sport for me. Both of my parents were avid sailors when I was young. My father was on the 1st US team to win the Admiral's Cup in 1969. My mother often crewed for my dad on our Etchells and other boats. I sailed around the world (Annapolis - American Samoa) with my family from 1977-1979.
How did you buy your first boat? Cash Technically, I co-own my first boat with my team; Betsy Suzy and I used our USOC funding to purchase our Yngling. Yngling 2001 (with savings)
Which was your first sailing club? Metedeconk River Yacht Club US Sailing Center of Martin County As a kid, parents were members of American YC)
Which was your first sailing club? Metedeconk River Yacht Club US Sailing Center of Martin County My first club - New York YC
First Event competed in and Year MRYC Junior Series in 1969 Laser II Midwinters, as crew in 1994 Annapolis - Newport Race on Tempest (S& S 81 with parents) in 1977
First Event won and Year MRYC Junior Sunfish Series 1972 High Scholl Regatta in 420s in 1995 1st major one I remember - Block Island Race Week J 33 Bow in 1992
Principle achievements 2000 US Paralympic Sailing Team Head Coach 2003 Open Yngling World Champions; 1st Yngling Open World Championship 2003
Principle achievements US Disabled Sailing Team Coach 1998-2000 Bronze medal in 2002 Women's Yngling World Championship 1st SPA Regatta (our first major European Yngling win)
Principle achievements US Olympic Committee Coach of the Year - Sailing Selected as the US Sailing Team of the Year 2002 US Women's Match Race Champions - 12/2002
Principle achievements Rolex US Yachtswoman of the Year 1998, 1993, 1984, 1982 & 1981 Ranked #1 on the US Sailing Team 2003 One Ton Cup Champion - 10/2002 (with K-Yachting)
Principle achievements RI Sport Council - Personal Achievement Award 1997 Ranked #1 in the ISAF rankings for 4 consecutive cycles North American Yngling Champion 2001 (with Courtenay BECKER-DEY)
Principle achievements New Jersy Women of Achievemnt 1983 Collegiate All American 1999-2000, 2000-2001 for Tufts University Mumm 30 World Champion 1999 (with Barry ALLARDICE)
Principle achievements US Amateur Athlete in Yachting 1982 & 1981
America's Cup 1994-1995 with America3
Principle achievements Collegiate All-American Honorable Mention 1981 (Tufts)

Principle achievements US Sailing Association Member of National Training Faculty 1990-1994, Master Trainer for Level II, Instructor Trainer for Levels I and II

Principle achievements US Team Coach of World Disabled Sailing Team - Gold and Silver Medallists 1998

Principle achievements Co-Host of Boating Today TV (now in 3rd season).

Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date US Women's Sailing Champion 1991, 1990 and 1984 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date US Women's Single-Handed Champion 1982, 1981 and 1979 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Women's Laser World Champion 1983 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date ISAF Dubai World Championships 1998 - 1st Women's Match Racing A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date ISAF Dubai World Championships 1998 - Women's Keelboat A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date 2nd Yngling Open World Championship 2001 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Women's Yngling World Champion 2001 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date 3rd Women's Yngling World Championship 2002 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date 1st Yngling Open World Championship 2003 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Five Times Rolex International Keelboat Champion A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date 3rd Women's Yngling World Championship 2002 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date 1st US Women's Match Racing Championship 2002 A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
Detail the personal highlights of your sailing career to date Numerous other national and international titles in many disciplines) A year ago May, our team came together. In this relatively short period of time, we have accumulated an impressive resume. I am proud of all our accomplishments, but there are a few that stand out in my mind as highlights: In July 2002, the Yngling Worlds were held in Brunnen, Switzerland. It was our second fleet racing regatta together and our bronze medal performance qualified the United States for the Olympic Games. Winning the 2003 Yngling Open Worlds is by far the highlight of my sailing career. As the first women to ever win the Yngling Open Worlds, our team made history. The most significant two events in my sailing career have been my involvement with America3 for the America's Cup Defence Series (Citizen's Cup) in 1994- 1995, and this past year campaigning to represent the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. These two events are arguably the two ultimate events in the world, and I have been lucky enough to experience both.
What are your future sailing aspirations? To participate in the Olympic Games and win a medal for the United States. In the immediate future, I aspire to win the Olympic Trials and go on to represent the United States in Athens. Our team has accomplished great things, but there is still a long road ahead to Olympic Gold. Another campaign might be on the horizon for me, however, as a driver. Win a Gold Medal at he 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
What are your future sailing aspirations? To participate in the Olympic Games and win a medal for the United States. In the immediate future, I aspire to win the Olympic Trials and go on to represent the United States in Athens. Our team has accomplished great things, but there is still a long road ahead to Olympic Gold. Another campaign might be on the horizon for me, however, as a driver. Continue to compete at the highest level of international fleet and match racing
What are your future sailing aspirations? To participate in the Olympic Games and win a medal for the United States. In the immediate future, I aspire to win the Olympic Trials and go on to represent the United States in Athens. Our team has accomplished great things, but there is still a long road ahead to Olympic Gold. Another campaign might be on the horizon for me, however, as a driver. Future America's Cup…is not out of the question.
Briefly state what sailing means to you Sailing to me is the ultimate game. Ever changing playing field and conditions requiring physical, mental and psychological discipline and control. It is a sport that allows one to experience freedom and control together. Sailing is the world to me. I have always been an athlete, but when I found my true passion in sailing, everything clicked. There are so many things that go into being an Olympic sailor that separate sailing from other sports. The combination of these elements: the wind, water, waves, equipment and cutting edge technological development, physical training, mental training and preparation, to name a few, in conjunction with the race itself against teams that are faced with the same challenges make it the most unique and best sport in the world. Sailing is the perfect combination of athleticism and mental exercise. Sailing offers the opportunity to compete against the best in the world, not matter what your age or gender. Although it was challenging at first to get a spot on the top boats, once you demonstrate your ability, the fun of competing with the best, against the best is unparalleled. Every day on the water offers you the chance to learn something new - there are so many facets to sailing - the on-going education is exhilarating.
Who has had the greatest impact or inspiration in your sailing career and why? My parents for their love and encouragement to get involved in the sport and take it to a level that I wanted to go. Also, my teammates for inspiring me to become the best that I can be at an elite level. Honestly my teammates have had the biggest impact on my sailing career. They inspire me each and every day to go out there and take our gam to the next level. Our tight knit team, which consists of more than just the three of us - it is our coach, our match racing crew, our doctors, our trainers, and our family and supporters that really make it happen. The greatest impact and inspiration in my sailing career has come from those closest to me. My parents provided me with the opportunity to sail big boats as a child, I was allowed to free-climb up the rig of our 50 footer and dive off the top spreaders, I was given night watches at the age of 11 and I helped weather storms at sea with no mishaps. I am sure this led to my fearlessness on the bow, and my conviction that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. More recently my teammates have given me the confidence to master the fine art of small keelboat dynamics, jib trim, and downwind tactics. Without their undying guidance and support, I would still be just a 'bowchick'.
Who do you consider to be your sailing hero? Paul ELVSTRÖM for his longevity, success, dedication to the integrity of the sport. There are so many sailors that I admire it is difficult to answer with just one. This is partially because our sport is so broad, from Olympic Sailing to exploration and ocean racing; there are many who deserve mention. Paul ELVSTRÖM and Mark REYNOLDS were always an inspiration to me. Ellen MACARTHUR who is relatively close to me in age has my respect and admiration. Captain Edward SHACKELTON and the Arctic explorers on the Endurance are certainly heroic. I also consider each and every one of the disabled sailors I have come to know to be heroic. Last but not least, is my driver, Betsy ALISON, she was an inspiration to me as a junior sailor. I continue to respect and admire her and many other 'pioneers' of women's sailing. I have never had any 'hero' in sailing, but the ones that have inspired me the most are those individuals and teams that pioneer new frontiers in sailing. Ellen MACARTHUR comes to mind, as does Isabelle AUTISSIER, and Steve FOSSETT'S endless records. I also look to Gary JOBSON as one of the individuals that has done the most to promote our sport, and wish him the best in his recovery.
What other sports do you participate in outside of sailing? Skiing, recreational bicycling, random sports. I was a competitive horseback rider before I started sailing in 1994. I am an avid sports-woman, but have cut back on the high-risk sports on my list for our Olympic campaign. As a general list, I love to snowboard and ski, mountain bike, rock climb, wake board and surf I participate mostly in recreational sports such as mountain biking, snowboarding, wakeboarding and golf.
Who do you consider to be the greatest sailor in the World and why? I don't see how there can be just one! I don't think that this can be reduced to one person. Don't know that I have ever considered it, but I would say Sir Peter BLAKE, for his leadership on and off the water.
Briefly state what being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award 2003 means to you It is an incredible honour to be nominated for this award, particularly in the company of my Olympic teammates. We have worked so hard together as a team to achieve success at the elite level and to be identified as outstanding athletes is awesome. To be nominated for this award is an extreme honour. It means to me that our team is on track to being successful in our mission to excellence. We strive each and every day to represent each other and out country well. Being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is an incredible honour. Our team has been working endlessly toward two goals: to win the US Yngling Olympic Trials in February 2004, and then to represent our nation at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Our performance this year has given us confidence in our mission, and being nominated for this award gives even more momentum, that will hopefully raise our team's profile, and help achieve our sailing and fundraising goals.
If voted as the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2003, briefly say what will this mean to you? It will be the most prestigious award I have ever received to date and will highlight a very long and successful career on the national and international sailing scene. An incredible honour that I believe carries with it the responsibility to function as a role model for other aspiring and developing sailors. I hope to become one of the very same people who inspired me for another junior sailor out there waiting to unleash their potential. If voted as the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2003, it would be the first such award for US women, and would therefore be an even greater achievement. To win such an award, ahead of all the other exceptional nominees, would provide our team incredible inspiration and further focus our determination to win Olympic Gold.
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