The story of the day is clearly our Disabled Sailing Team’s performance at the recently completed IFDS World Championship in Weymouth, England. The USA was in the hunt for medals in all three classes, and we took home the silver in the SKUD-18. Congratulations to Jen French and JP Creignou for their second place finish.
While Jen and JP had the top performance for our team at the event, the entire team deserves high praise. Scott Whitman and Julia Dorsett pushed Jen and JP hard and finished a close 4th in the SKUD. In the 2.4mR, Marc LeBlanc finished in 4th, one point off the podium and Paralympic Games Bronze Medalist John Ruf finished right behind him in 5th. In the Sonar, Paul Callahan, Brad Johnson and Tom Brown finished 5th, and Rick Doerr, Brad Kendall and Hugh Freund were right behind them in 6th. Bert Foster, Mike Hersey and David Burdette also had a nice result, in 15th place, with some strong individual races.
The scores only tell part of the story. The more important part of the story, at least from my seat, is that our disabled sailors are taking the same approach to collaborative training as our able-bodied sailors, and that makes this team potentially very strong for next year’s Games. We had two of the top four in the world in the SKUD, two of the top five in the 2.4 and two of the top six in the Sonar. That’s a strong performance.
There is no doubt in my mind that when our teams work together, share coaching, share information and train collaboratively, the sky is the limit on what we can achieve. The performance of the team at the IFDS Worlds is but the latest proof of the concept.
Congrats to our sailors and coaches! Well done. We’re all cheering this performance and looking forward to the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Chairman, Olympic Sailing Committee