At the Helm: Settled in England, Getting Ready

Hello everyone… we’ve had a whirlwind last few days with the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. But we’re finally settled in Weymouth and are now into regatta mode. But here’s what we have been up to lately…

Team coaches preparing their engine covers: Romain Bonnaud, Dave Dellenbaugh and Leandro Spina

On Saturday, July 14, we had a rousing send-off party for the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams at Larchmont YC, with over 1,000 fans coming to see the team, get some autographs, and cheer hard. Here’s a link to a photo album of the event.

Then, on July 15, the team boarded an overnight flight to London, arrived on the morning of July 16. We had the distinction of being the first full Olympic Team to arrive at Heathrow. Immediately we went into the city for what is called “team processing.” This is the moment that many U.S. Olympians have described as their first real “wow, I’m an Olympian now” moments. The entire four-hour session is orchestrated by USOC, and this is where the team gets its uniforms, lots of other Team USA gear, team rings, official team photos… at that point, we are no longer the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For the next few weeks, we are now the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team, still grateful to all the friends and sponsors who got us here, but now with a higher calling to represent our country.

After processing, we spent the afternoon and night in the London Olympic Village, and then early the next day (July 17) we boarded a bus to take us down to Weymouth and Portland.

We’re now down here, getting ready for the regatta. We’ve spent a ton of time here since 2008, and it shows. London was exciting, but once we got down here you could see everyone sort of breathe a sigh of relief, because we were back in comfortable environs.

We’ve got some time now before the Games begin, and I’ll write more in the coming days about the things our sailors are doing in their final preparations.

The Olympics is a “once-in-a-lifetime” event that happens every four years. For about half our team, this is their first Games. For the rest of them, this is their second. One of our coaches, Luther Carpenter, is at his seventh Games, and he’s not even that old! He was at the 1988 Games as a training partner, and has coached for the USA at every Games since then. He’s our senior staff member for sure, and the guy who helps us keep everything in perspective.

This is my second and final Games, and I can tell you two things with absolute certainty: first, your 2012 Olympic Sailing Team is one to be very proud of. These are great people and great sailors, who are committed and focused, and will represent us in the best possible way. And the second thing I’ll tell you is that it is a humbling honor to play a role in this, even in a small way. I’m not sailing in the Games, (I tried to, 12 years ago, but it didn’t end the way I wanted it to), but I am here, involved and supporting our sailors. It is a wonderful experience to play a role, no mattter how big or how small, and I know I speak for our entire staff when I say I’ll remember the sights and sounds of this experience for the rest of my life.

Sail fast,

Dean Brenner, Team Leader

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