US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics: 2007-2008
Member of: St. Francis Yacht Club
Education: Avon Old Farms School, Whittier College
Birthdate: May 11, 1978
Birthplace: Oakland, Calif.
Hometown: Gulfport, Miss.
Significant sailing achievements: No. 1-ranked U.S. team, ISAF Star Class rankings (2007), 1st Star Class Masters Regatta, with father G. Brooks Sperry (2002)
Biography: Winning sailboat races may be a complex undertaking-requiring a scientist’s understanding of wind and weather, the discipline to hone your physique to a boat’s demands, and the ability to play a game as mentally rigorous as chess. But for Star Class sailor Austin Sperry, who heads to his first Olympic Games in 2008, success in sailing boils down to a simple key: hard work.
Sperry, who grew up sailing on San Francisco Bay, had an opportunity to gain a bird’s-eye view of the work ethic of top talents in the sport at an early age. At age 14, he was sharing a starting line with Olympic medalists, America’s Cup racers, and other world-class contenders as a crew in the Star Class. By 2004, he had tried twice to capture a U.S. Olympic berth.
A trip to the Star Class Western Hemisphere Championship in the Bahamas in 2005 with his father-in-law John Dane wasn’t fueled by Olympic ambitions: it was a regatta stop made just for fun, but a close second to Paul Cayard had Sperry and Dane looking more closely at the potential of a father-in-law/son-in-law Olympic pairing. Successive top finishes at the 2006 Bacardi Cup (1st) and the 2006 US SAILING Rolex Miami OCR (4th) sealed the deal.
The 2007 U.S. Olympic Team Trials came down to a lethal points situation, and Dane and Sperry entered the final race with a sliver of points separating them from their closest rivals. A bullet in that race became their ticket to Qingdao.
Of that final Trials race when the pressure to perform was on, Sperry told readers of the Times-Picayune, “We’ve been practicing for this. We predicted it. We rehearsed it.”
2008 14th US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR/Miami
2007 8th Star Western Hemisphere Championship/Tampa, Fla., 10th US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR