Jimmy Spithill, who as skipper led Oracle Team USA back from an 8-1 deficit to win the most recent America’s Cup, is now nominated for the 2014 Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award. He spoke with the folks at Laureus about the race in San Francisco, as well as what all of us AC fans can expect next.
Here are our five favorite Spithill outtakes from the interview:
• “That’s the great thing about sport and in life, that, you know, if it’s not over, if they haven’t handed the trophy over, you still have a shot.”
• “It’s very easy, and the same in business, when things are going well, everyone gets happy and gets along in the company. But when you’re losing and you’re having a hard time and you’re facing adversity, is when you see the champion — then you see the champion teams, then you see the people you want standing around you.”
• “I actually had a couple of people come up to me with general illnesses that weren’t into sailing and they were inspired by the comeback. They sort of came up and said look, I knew nothing about sailing, and to be honest, don’t know much about the sport, but there’s been a couple of times that I’ve thought about packing it in, you know, sort of giving it up, and the story and what you did, it sort of inspired me to keep at it and hang on.”
• “I’m staying with the team. Yeah, I’m pushing for a three peat. It’s been an incredible ride and to be involved and win the first one, and to win back to back America’s Cups, and now a shot at the third one is really, really exciting and going to take a lot of hard work, but something that I’m looking forward to.”
• “The old monohull America’s Cup, while it may have been enjoyable for the guys on the boat and the construction and engineering, like Formula One — frankly the boats were no faster than any boat in the marina. To be a sailor on the boat would not be great, and to try to watch that style of racing those boats on TV was like watching paint dry. So unless you’re into that, it wasn’t that great. So now, you really get the best of the best. I mean, with these boats you need exceptional athletes. You can’t carry anyone on these boats. It just requires the best of the best. And there’s some serious risk; if you make a mistake — in the old monohulls you could make mistakes and it wouldn’t really matter so much in the race. But you make a mistake on this boat and it’s serious consequences. So now it’s got everything. [The America’s Cup] really is something that non sailors can watch on TV. More importantly, kids love it. The amount of kids that want to get into sailing now who weren’t into sailing and didn’t come from sailing families, because it’s a catamaran and flying in the air and it’s exciting and it’s physical. Yeah, it’s the only way forward.”