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With the calendar switched to an Olympic year, the intensity on the water at the 2016 Sailing World Cup #miami presented by Sunbrella is a match for the famously bright South Florida sun. In less than 200 days, many of the nearly 800 sailors gathered in Coconut Grove this week will walk in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. For the sailors with a confirmed spot in the Olympic Regatta, this event is about sharpening their tactical game, refining their equipment and improving their conditioning. Others have a more immediate focus as they are in the midst of a selection series for their respective countries or working to qualify their country for the Olympic regatta.
"There's a lot at stake this year at Sailing World Cup #miami,” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing. "For the first time in the event's 27-year history, it's being used as part of the U.S. selection process and part of country qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games.”
For American sailors in eight of the Olympic classes and the 2.4mR, this event is the first of two events that will determine the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for this summer's Games.
The Sailing World Cup #miami presented by Sunbrella is the second event in the six-regatta 2016 Sailing World Cup. #competition in US Sailing's premiere racing event gets underway this Monday in all 10 Olympic classes and two of three Paralympic classes. Saturday's Medal Races will be carried #live on ESPN3.
The Olympic classes competing this week will be: Laser Radial (women), Laser (men), Finn (men), Men's RS:X, Women's RS:X, 49er (men), Men's 470, Women's 470, Nacra 17 (mixed) and 49erFX (women). Paralympic classes included are the 2.4mR (open, Para World Sailing) and Sonar (open, Para World Sailing).
Befitting an event of this magnitude, this evening athletes, volunteers and regatta officials participated in an Opening Ceremony on the lawn of the Coral Reef Yacht Club. The 68 national flags ringing the lawn—and the variety of languages heard in the various boat parks—are a stirring reminder of the global popularity of this event. The event record of 855 sailors, which was set last year, is safe; the 2016 edition of the Sailing World Cup will rank third in terms of attendance. The 68 nations attending breaks the record set in 2015.
"Sailing World Cup #miami is a pivotal event for Olympic sailors on the road to Rio. The caliber of the athletes that will be on show in #miami is exceptional and many of the medalists here will be on the Olympic podium in August,” said Sailing World Cup Manager, Antonio Gonzalez de la Madrid. "Racing in #miami in January provides a welcome respite for the European sailors looking to escape the European winter. We have World Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) in the 49erFX, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) in the Nacra 17 and Danish Laser Radial star Anne Marie Rindom. That's to name but a few in the world class fields we have on show in the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.”
The trickle down of having all these top international athletes training and racing in the United States every January should not be understated.
"The training leading up to this regatta is at a very high level,” said Adams. "For the US Sailing Team Sperry and our overall Olympic program, there's great value in this event. Our athletes are able to go out and train against the world's best.”
Racing gets underway tomorrow at 10 a.m. (EST), weather providing and will run until the late afternoon each day through Friday. Saturday's double-point medal races—a shorter sprint for glory with just the top 10 sailors in each class competing—will start at 11 a.m., and be broadcast #live on ESPN3.
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