Scuttlebutt News Center:
Philippe Kahn - Leading Pegasus Racing Toward 2008 Olympics
(August 23, 2004) Leading up to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, much attention has been focused on how Britain and other leading sailing nations have been able to raise the bar, securing the resources and support needed to prepare their teams for the games. Talent can only get you so far these days, and the complexities of an Olympic campaign can leave behind only those who are prepared to keep pace with this new era of Olympic preparation.
Shark Kahn winning 2003 Melges 24 Worlds
(photo provided by Pegasus Racing)
A solution for some might have just arrived. American Philippe Kahn has made his mark in sailing as much by his quick rise to victory lane as by his extensive training programs that have led him there. Besides his personal success in the Transpac race, the Melges 24 and the Farr 40 class, his training regimen was behind son Shark’s win at the 2003 Melges 24 Worlds, Freddy Lööf’s victory at the 2004 Star Worlds and Morgan Larson claiming the 2004 505 Worlds. And now, Kahn is directing the focus of his organization, Pegasus Racing, toward supporting the needs of sailors for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, China.
Explains Kahn, “We want to make a difference and nurture great athletes to success as part of our team. Some people spend four years preparing for an America's Cup; we want to focus on one-design and Olympic sailing. This is a natural next step for us, and completely synergistic with our current sailing program.”
Kahn strongly believes that US Olympic sailing is getting left behind, unable to provide sufficient structure and funding to allow American sailors to keep pace internationally. “The situation of US Olympic sailing is very precarious as we can see from the unfolding of the Athens events,” states Kahn. “We think that we can change this sad situation for Beijing and have great success. Take it one step beyond what the British have done, for example. Now it is time to bring forward a new generation of sailors.”
“National programs are good, but they are all focused on their local sailors. We are thinking globally and we are thinking about teams pushing each other all the way to the Olympics without having to worry about their own trials. Too many young sailors are focused on the Olympic trials. We're focused on the Olympic Games.”
Ben Ainslie leads British Olympic domination
(photo by Carlo Borlenghi)
While the intent of Pegasus Racing is not strictly on improving the American’s chance for 2008, Kahn strongly believes that the US cannot improve by remaining in a vacuum. “The best way to help the US is to help the best get better. That's how we will help the US win in ‘08. Sailing has evolved and the approach to the Olympics should evolve too. We'll always have one US team per class that we support, but next to them we'll have the best in the world to push them all the way to the games. Today unfortunately, mediocrity breeds mediocrity.”
“We will have both US and non US sailors,” says Kahn. “That's because there is synergism: They aren't competing for their country's trials but for the medals once they get to Beijing. That means that they will push each other hard until the Olympics. Let's say that we had a US and a NZL young Finn sailor. They'd push each other daily, work with each other to win their respective trials and train together all the way to the Olympics to win a medal.”
The Pegasus Racing team training camps will be held in Santa Cruz and Hawaii (both sites included on Scuttlebutt’s list of Best Racing Venues) and will plan for over 250 days of daily sailing a year in addition to attending all the key class regattas on the calendar around the world. Kahn sees his program as sailing’s equivalent to the Florida pro tennis camps, where it’s about younger athletes making a 100% commitment to their Olympic dreams.
With the foundation funding 100% of the program, a desire to begin the 2008 Olympic cycle immediately and an outlook to continue at least through the 2012 Olympics, all Pegasus Racing needs now is the participants. Too good to be true? Maybe for some, as Kahn is looking for only those most suited to the program. “We are looking at natural ability, team spirit, performance, attitude, and tenacity. We'll trial the best candidates on the water and make decisions. We want only quality, not quantity.” With Freddy Lööf of Sweden already onboard (2-time Star world champion, 3-time Finn world champion and Olympic medalist), Pegasus Racing looks to have the quality it desires.
Those with Olympic aspirations can contact Pegasus Racing at Olympic.firstname.lastname@example.org