Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha have qualified to represent the United States in the women’s 470 class at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. They achieved their qualification score during racing at the 470 European Championship in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the second event in the U.S. Olympic qualification process for women’s 470.
They entered the Palma regatta with a two-point lead over contenders Sydney Bolger and Carly Shevitz by virtue of their sixth-place finish at the 470 world championship in San Isidro, Argentina, in February. They used this week’s racing to open a margin wide enough over Bolger and Shevitz to secure their ticket to Rio.
The duo already has tasted victory in the Brazilian waters where the Olympic competition will be held, having won the Olympic Test Event held in August 2015. That win was preceded by a bronze medal at the 470 European Championship in Aarhus, Denmark, one month prior.
The win at the Olympic Test Event was the first gold medal they have won, in addition to five other podium finishes since 2013. That includes three bronze medals in world cup competition to go along with the one they took at last year’s European championship. Their lone silver medal came at the 2013 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medernblik, Netherlands.
Although their roots are in two completely separate regions of the country – Haeger is from East Troy, Wisconsin, while Provancha hails from San Diego, California – they found their common dream at the 2007 ISAF Youth World Championship in Kingston, Ontario. That is where Provancha achieved her breakout victory and Haeger took the silver in Laser Radial. Both point to their standing on the podium in Kingston as the moment when the spark of their Olympic dream flared to life.
Teammates on the Boston College sailing team, they won the ICSA women’s doublehanded nationals as seniors in 2012. Haeger enjoyed impressive solo results in college, including three ICSA women’s singlehanded national championships and recognition as a four-time ICSA All-American. Provancha picked up her share of hardware for Boston College as well, taking three different national titles (2011, match racing; 2010, co-ed; 2008, team race).
U.S. sailors who already have earned the spots in Rio are: Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris in the 49er class; Paris Henken and Helena Scutt in the 49er FX; Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee in Nacra 17; 2012 Olympian Paige Railey in Laser Radial; Caleb Paine in Finn; Charlie Buckingham in Laser; Marion Lepert in women’s RS:X; and Pedro Pascual in men’s RS:X. The men’s 470 team will be determined by the close of the 470 European Championship this week.