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Celebrating and introducing the Paris 2024 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team

by David Schmidt 21 May 16:00 BST May 21, 2024
2024 Formula Kite World Championships in Hyères: Daniela Moroz enjoying her new foil set-up © IKA Media / Robert Hajduk

For fans of U.S. Olympic sailing, the past several quadrennials have been a nosebleed, at best. The wheels came off the bus at the London 2012 Olympics. Despite fielding an impressive group of athletes, the team failed to collect a single medal, posting their worst showing on an Olympic stage. History started to repeat itself again at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but Caleb Paine saved a second national sailing embarrassment by earning a bronze in the Finn class.

While Paine's achievement was impressive (he sailed his heart out in the medal race), a single bronze isn't much to brag about from a country that has collected 61 Olympic sailing medals (19 gold, 23 silver, and 19 bronze), a number count that, historically, makes the U.S. one of the most winning Olympic sailing nations afloat.

Come the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the ghosts of London howled again, and the USA sailed home empty handed.

The stark fact remains that the last time the Star-Spangled Banner was played first at an Olympic sailing medal ceremony was at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, when Anna (Tunnicliffe) Tobias showed the world how to sail Laser Radials (now called ILCA 6s).

Despite this history, however, the USA has fielded a young-but-hopefully-competitive team for the Paris 2024 Olympics, and - I'm happy to report - we have several athletes and teams who are possible (if not strong) medal contenders once the starting guns begin sounding this summer on the waters off the Marseille Marina.

Here's a look at the athletes who will be representing the Red, White, and Blue at this summer's Games.

49er: Ian Barrows and Hans Henken have sailed 49ers for years, however this quadrennial marks their first trip to the Olympics as teammates. So far, their partnership has yielded a gold medal at the 2023 Pan American Games, a silver at the 2022 Princess Sofia Trophy, and several other strong showings on the international stage.

49erFX: Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea are two of the most battle-hardened U.S. sailors heading to the Games this summer. Not only did they represent the USA at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing in eleventh place, but they also proved victorious in a hard selection-series fight against Paris Henken and Anna Tobias. The two recently posted an eleventh place result at the 2024 49erFX Worlds, and a tenth place finish at the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy.

Women's Formula Kite: Pressure is a hard thing to manage, but it's something that Daniela Moroz is well-versed at, having won six consecutive world championships in the Women's Formula Kite event. While this year's Games will be her debut on the Olympic stage, Moroz, who is a four-time US Rolex Yachtswoman of the year, has the kind of experience required to race hard against the world's best. She recently earned a second-place finish at the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy and a third-place finish at the 2024 Women's Formula Kite Worlds, making her a strong contender.

Men's Formula Kite: While Markus Edegran has been racing in various classes for years, he began racing in the Formula Kite class in 2019, making him a relative newcomer. Still, 2024 has proven to be a good year for him, with an eleventh place finish at the Formula Kite Worlds. This will be his first Olympic Games.

Women's iQFOiL: Hydrofoils are a new element in the windsurfing class at this year's Olympics, and the USA's Dominique Stater, in her Olympic debut, will be the first athlete to take flight with the letters USA on her sail in the Women's iQFOiL class. Stater recently finished in 27th place at the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy and 32nd at the 2024 Women's iQFOiL Worlds.

Men's iQFOiL: Noah Lyons earned his berth to the Paris Games by finishing in second place at the 2024 Last Chance Regatta (AKA the 55th French Olympic Week). While Lyons is a first-time Olympian, he took home a bronze medal in the Men's iQFOiL class from the 2023 Pan American Games, and he also won the 2023 iQFOiL Games Cadíz; additionally, he also won the U.S. Open Sailing Series twice.

ILCA 6: The USA is lucky to have several strong ILCA 6 sailors, meaning that Erika Reineke, who has long been one of the fastest guns in this competitive crowd, had to work hard to earn her berth to Paris. Reineke finished in first place at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, beating out Christina Sakellaris, Charlotte Rose, and Lily Myers; on the international stage, she finished in onefifth place at the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy. This will be Reineke's first time competing in the Olympics.

Mixed 470: Both Stu McNay and Lara Dallman-Weiss sailed in the Olympics in the 470 back when there were both Men's and Women's 470 classes (five consecutive times for McNay, and once for Dallman-Weiss), making them one of the more experienced American-flagged sailing teams traveling to France this year. The pair finished in 20th place at the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy and in 26th place at the 2024 470 Worlds.

Nacra 17: Sarah Newberry Moore and David Liebenberg earned their spots on the starting line of this summer's Games by finishing in 23rd place at the 2024 Nacra 17 Worlds, where they beat out fellow Americans Carson Crain and Lindsay Gimple, who finished in 34th place. Additionally, Newberry Moore and Liebenberg collected a silver medal at the 2023 Pan American Games. This will be their first Olympic Games.

Sail-World celebrates the achievements that have earned these athletes their berths to the Paris 2024 Olympics, and we wish them all great luck as they make their final preparations for this summer's Games. Needless to say, we've got all digits crossed that this quadrennial will prove to be the start of a much brighter future for America's Olympic sailing interests.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

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