>As I watch our sailors during this event, something has occurred to me that I’ve never thought about before. We have a number of sailors on this team who are in the midst of their first serious campaign. But we also have a number who sailed hard for the 2008 Games, some of whom went to Qingdao, and some of whom came up just short in the 2007 Olympic Trials. We have many sailors on this team who, for a variety of reasons and in a few different ways, did not reach their goals last time around.
And when I think about those sailors who came up just short last time around, and when I watch the effort they are putting out this time around, I am struck by their courage. “Courage,” you ask? Yeah, courage.
Our sport, and this team, have gotten better and better at sharing the stories of sailors, promoting our team, raising the profile of our entire effort. And the needs for increased support make those efforts necessary, it also raises the stakes for the sailors. The more you promote a team, the more people who are watching at the end, win or lose. And when a young sailor puts it all on the line, goes for the glory of Games’ success, and it doesn’t work out, that can be hard to swallow. It’s one thing to fall short in a private moment. It’s quite another thing to fall short publicly. And when someone falls short in front of others, it takes a great deal of courage to stand back up and say “I’m going again.” So, yes, I’m talking about courage.
It takes courage to put your life on hold so you can dedicate yourself to a single goal. It takes courage to put everything you have into something. And it takes courage to do all of this in front of others.
I’m really proud of this team, and the effort they are putting in. We’ll see how the final results pan out, but the effort is there. At this point of the quadrennium, that means as much as anything else.
Chairman, Olympic Sailing Committee