US SAILING Names Athletes of the Year

News brief

US SAILING has selected five athletes as sailing's 2006 U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Athletes of the Year for outstanding performance and achievement. US SAILING names Star sailor Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Laser Radial sailor Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) as SportsMan and SportsWoman of the Year, respectively. The Star team of Andy Horton (Newport, R.I.) and Brad Nichol (Lake Sunapee, N.H.) is the Team of the Year, and Sonar sailor Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) is the Paralympic of the Year. US SAILING has also nominated these sailors to the USOC for consideration for the overall USOC Athletes of the Year Awards. The USOC will select the award winners from the Athletes of the Year recognized by each Olympic sport's national governing body and announce the winners in January 2007.SportsMan of the Year: Mark Mendelblatt Star skipper Mark Mendelblatt burst into Olympic contention this year after winning a gold medal with crew Mark Strube in a 93-boat fleet at the 2006 Star European Championship, part of Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt, Germany. In an unprecedented performance at a major Star championship, they scored three consecutive bullets in the first three races and finished with only 10 points. Mendelblatt and Strube won another gold medal in a fleet of 49 Star boats at Kiel Week in Kiel, Germany, one of the largest sailing events in the world. Mendelblatt and Strube finished second in a 70-boat fleet at the Star Eastern Hemisphere Championships in Naples, Italy and third out of 14 at the St Moritz Match Race in Switzerland. SportsWoman of the Year: Paige RaileyAt age 19, Railey has celebrated an impressive string of victories this year, including a gold medal in a fleet of 34 boats at The Good Luck Beijing - 2006 Qingdao International Regatta, the first of two Olympic test events in China. Railey also won gold medals at the Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres, France, and at the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria, after tough competition with the defending champion from France, Sophie de Turckheim. At the Laser Radial North American Championship in Florida, Railey won the 18-boat fleet by 33 points after finishing with a perfect nine point score. Railey also won the gold medal in a fleet of 94 boats at the Laser Midwinters East Regatta in Florida. In addition, Railey won silver medals at US SAILING's Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta (OCR) and US SAILING's Olympic Pre-Trials in Newport, R.I. Railey was named the 2006 Female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex. She is the first female American sailor to be named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year since the awards were first presented in 1994, and is the youngest ever recipient of the award. Railey was ranked the number one Laser Radial sailor in the world by ISAF from September 1, 2005 - August 31, 2006 and is ranked the number one Laser Radial sailor on the 2006 US Sailing Team. This is the fifth year Paige has been named Female Athlete of the Year by US SAILING. Team of the Year: Andy Horton and Brad NicholRanked number one on the US Sailing Team in the Star class, skipper Andy Horton and crew Brad Nichol have consistently achieved podium finishes in 2006. Horton and Nichol dominated the Star class and won an impressive gold medal at the 2006 Qingdao International Regatta. They also won a silver medal in a fleet of 67 Star boats at US SAILING's Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta (OCR). Horton and Nichol won a bronze medal in a 93-boat fleet at the 2006 Star European Championship, part of Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt, Germany. The team came in fourth place in a fleet of 66 boats at the Star World Championship in San Francisco, Calif., and fourth place in a fleet of 14 boats at the Holland Regatta in Medemblik, The Netherlands. They also came in eighth place in an aggressive 80 boat fleet at the Star North American Championship in Miami. Paralympian of the Year: Rick DoerrRanked number one in the Sonar class on the U.S. Disabled Sailing Team, skipper Rick Doerr has had strong results in both Disabled and Open events with a variety of crew in 2006. At US SAILING's Paralympic Pre-Trials in Newport, R.I., Doerr, along with crew Timothy Angle and Bill Donahue, dominated the four-boat Sonar fleet with six wins in seven races. Doerr, with crew Angle and Donahue, again secured the gold medal among strong international Paralympic contenders at the Clagett Regatta in Newport, R.I., after winning four bullets in five races among an eight-boat fleet. At the America's Disabled-Open Midwinter Regatta in St. Petersburg, Fla., Doerr dominated the seven-boat Sonar fleet and won the gold with Angle and Brian Tabler. Doerr continued his gold medal streak when he won, with crew Peter Wilson, Angle and Britt Hall, the Sonar Long Island Sound Championship, an Open regatta in Noroton, CT, which attracted 21 boats. He also won silver medals at the Tappanzee Challenge in Nyack, N.Y and at the Midwinter Championship, an open and disabled international regatta. For more information, please visit