If there was ever a time for the U.S. Sailing Team, which has been experiencing a serious medal drought of late, to start peaking it would be now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to begin in July. Luckily, it appears the team, which has won only three Olympic medals since 2004, is doing just that, taking three golds in the Hempel World Cup Series Miami this past winter.
Among the winning American sailors were 29-year-old Olympic bronze-medalist Caleb Paine in the Finn class, the sole U.S. medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics; 24-year-old Erika Reineke in the Laser Radial class; and 18-year-old Pedro Pascual in the RS:X sailboard men’s division. Pascual, who finished 28th in the RS:X class at the Rio Olympics, also received the Golden Torch award as the top American sailor at the regatta, while a fourth U.S. sailor, Luke Muller, won bronze in the Finn class.
“It’s awesome to win a World Cup,” said Pascual after his win. “It’s my first time winning an event in the senior class, and it was really hard to stay consistent…. Today I came into the medal race with a lead of 11 points, so I didn’t necessarily have to win. I just focused on controlling the fleet and staying close to everyone, but still sailing my own race.”
Meanwhile, in the hyper-competitive Laser Radial class, Reinke said of her own medal race: “Off the start, I felt really good. I tacked, and I was at the front of the race. Then I messed up one shift, and my competitors split from me. [Greek sailor Vaselia Karachaliou] played the first beat extremely well, and I tried to keep my head in the game and not give up. On the last downwind, I covered her, and unfortunately, she got a flag, but that’s the sport. I had to beat [Karachaliou] in the race…so I just went out there trying to win.”
Though they didn’t podium, twins Carmen and Emma Cowles also earned an Olympic berth for the U.S. Team in the Women’s 470 class with an eighth-place finish. For more on the regatta and the latest on the U.S. Team’s Olympic efforts.