At the Helm – April

Long-term plan for success

Our team just finished a great event in Palma de Mallorca, Spain at the Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta. We have lots of things to be excited about from that event, but one of the stories that might get lost in the lead up to the 2012 Games is the rapid improvement of Laser sailor Charlie Buckingham. Charlie did not win selection to represent the USA at the 2012 Games. Rob Crane did, and Rob is working very hard and will represent us well later this year.

Charlie Buckingham competing in Palma. Photo: J Renedo

But in the meantime, I’d like to point out the effort Charlie is putting in to prepare for 2016. Charlie is a highly decorated athlete, twice named College Sailor of the Year while attending Georgetown University, and last year committed himself to a full-time effort for the 2016 Games in Rio. Charlie’s commitment, combined with his talent, make him an ideal example of what we are trying to build in our US Sailing Olympic Development Program.

I’m sure Charlie was disappointed not to win selection for 2012. But instead of letting it get him down, or walking away from his training for a while, Charlie got right back into it and immediately began training hard. He is working with Rob and our coaches to help Rob’s preparation for this year, and jump start his own preparation for the next quad. It was a fantastic commitment on his part, and exactly what we think is necessary for success over the long term.

Not everyone will be able to make the type of commitment Charlie has made. But that’s OK, because it is an extraordinary commitment. However, for those who are serious about a long-term plan for Olympic success, take a close look at what Charlie Buckingham is doing. He is training without ego, alongside our 2012 Olympian, and taking advantage of everything we can give him as he prepares for the next Games.

His 4th place finish in Palma was clear evidence of the rapid rise he is making, and I have no doubt Charlie will be a major player for the 2016 Games.

Well done, Charlie and it’s great to have you on the team.

Dean Brenner

Chairman and Team Leader
US Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Program

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