US Sailing has confirmed the names of the 13 sailors who will represent the United States at the Olympic Games this coming July and August near Tokyo, Japan. The team hails from nine U.S. states and territories including California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wisconsin. The finalization of the team roster comes after nearly five years campaigning by not only the 13 Olympic Team nominees, but dozens of additional American sailors who were part of U.S. Sailing’s Olympic Team selection process.
“I know how much work it takes to earn selection to Team USA, and what a special honor it is to represent your country in the Olympics,” said Paul Cayard, Executive Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “I’m excited to support this group of 13 talented athletes as they race in Enoshima. I’m also proud of the larger community of U.S. Olympic-class sailors that competed in the selection process and pushed the Games team. The combined strength and depth of our Tokyo 2020 nominees, of our larger national team and of our development program is key to our success this summer and beyond.”
With the dates of the Games significantly impacted for only the fourth time in the 125-year history of the modern Olympic movement, athletes on the US Sailing Team, the annually-selected national team, had to adapt to a situation that was unprecedented in multiple respects.
“The pandemic created an interesting challenge for the world of Olympic Sailing,” said Luther Carpenter, Head Coach of the US Sailing Team. “Our sailors and coaches had to stay home or close to home, respect the virus, and brainstorm how to be productive. We worked to capitalize on the positives of the ‘zoom world,’ and we dove deep into all the things we never typically have time for. I am proud of our sailors for growing as a team, collaborating and interacting with experts and U.S. medalists from prior Olympic Games.”
The final year before the Games would usually involve relentless periods of relocation, training and competition for sailors around the world. The onset of COVID-19, and the ensuing travel restrictions, only raised the stakes for all competitors worldwide.
Team USA returns Games-tested athletes to the Olympic regatta in five of the nine sailing classes in which Americans will compete at Tokyo 2020, giving the group a strong core of experience. Athletes in four classes will make their Olympic debut, and the U.S. will not compete in the Men’s 49er event after narrowly missing national qualification in that class.
“Our team’s post-lockdown regatta results give us confidence that the pandemic training plan and execution is working,” said Carpenter. “That’s what the Olympics is all about; athletes performing to the highest of standards, made possible by unquestionable standards of preparation and training.”
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021, and the sailing events will be based on the island of Enoshima, approximately 35 miles southwest of Tokyo. The largest sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games will feature approximately 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries competing in 339 medal events. The sailing events will feature up to 350 athletes competing in ten classes.
All nominations to the Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team Nominees (listed in order of date of selection):
49erFX (Women’s Two-Person High Performance Skiff)
Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) – Team Roble-Shea has been on the 49erFX campaign trail together since the fall of 2016, earning several medals at major events including the 2019 Pan American Games and 2019 Hempel World Cup Series-Genoa. A highlight was a bronze medal at the 49erFX World Championship in 2020. Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic Games appearances for both Roble and Shea.
Nacra 17 (Mixed Two-Person Multihull)
Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – The U.S. multihull pair were Pan American Games Champions in 2019 and also earned bronze at the 2020 Oceania Championship. At the 2019 Worlds, they finished 14th. Gibbs and Weis will compete in their first career Olympics.
ILCA 6 – Radial (Women’s One-Person Dinghy)
Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – Tokyo 2020 will be the third consecutive Olympic Games appearance for the accomplished Railey, a five-time World Championship medalist, a Rolex World Sailor of the Year, a three-time Pan American Games medalist and a US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.
Finn (Men’s One-Person Heavyweight Dinghy)
Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) – Following multiple national championship wins as a youth Laser sailor, Muller medaled in the 2019 Finn Hempel World Cup Series-Miami and logged a career-best 6th place finish at the 2021 Finn Gold Cup (World Championship) in Porto, Portugal. Tokyo 2020 will be Muller’s first career Olympics.
ILCA 7 – Standard (Men’s One-Person Dinghy)
Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) – The Laser North American Champion, two-time College Sailor of the Year and Lima 2019 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist will sail at his second consecutive Olympic Games. Buckingham has had a strong run of recent results, including winning the 2020 Italian Olympic Class Championship, taking 6th overall at the 2020 Laser European Championships, and 4th overall at the 2020 Kieler Woche.
Women’s RS:X (Women’s Board)
Farrah Hall (Annapolis, MD) – Hall has medaled in several RS:X events including the 2011 Pan American Games, the 2012 US Sailing Rolex Miami OCR, the 2018 North American Championships, and took gold at the 2015 Semaine Olympique Francaise. Tokyo 2020 marks Hall’s second appearance on the Olympic stage, following her appearance at the London 2012 Games.
Men’s RS:X (Men’s Board)
Pedro Pascual (Miami, Fla.) – Pascual won the RS:ONE European Championship before making gold fleet at the 2016 RS:X Worlds and winning the 2020 Sailing World Cup Miami. Pascual will sail in his second career Olympics following his Rio 2016 appearance.
Men’s 470 (Men’s Two-Person Dinghy)
Stu McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Dave Hughes (Miami, Fla.) – McNay will compete at his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, and his second with teammate Hughes. The veteran pair have consistently challenged for medals since teaming up in 2012, and have earned dozens of podium finishes at the national, World Cup and Continental levels. McNay and Hughes head into the Games after a 5th place finish at the 2021 World Championships.
Women’s 470 (Women’s Two-Person Dinghy)
Nikole Barnes (St. Thomas, USVI) and Lara Dallman-Weiss (Shoreview, Minn.) – Three-time All-American collegiate sailor and active-duty U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Nikole Barnes will team up with 2016 Farr 40 North American Champion Lara Dallman-Weiss in their first Olympic Games appearances. Their 7th at the 2021 World Championship is a career-best to date.