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Meet Marcus Lynch, USST High Performance Director

US Sailing welcomed Marcus Lynch in January 2024 as the US Sailing Team’s High Performance Director. He’s tasked with leading the US Sailing Team and all its associated high‐performance programs, including the US Olympic Sailing Team, the Pan American Sailing Team, and the Olympic Development Sailing Program. And with only six months in the role before his first Olympics with Team USA, we sat down with Marcus to learn more about what drew him here after his experience with the British and German programs and what his vision is for Paris and Los Angeles.

Transcribed interview:

What is your personal sailing background?

I got into sailing at a young age in lots of different boats back home in the UK. I sort of funneled that energy and fun into the laser radial for my youth sailing before transitioning into multihulls as I got older.

What is your professional sailing background?

Some really fond memories from my career so far… I’ll probably start with securing two bronze medals, one in London one in Rio, with the British Sailing Team and the Paralympic sailors. Then moving on to a fantastic journey with the Nacra sailors in Germany to secure a bronze medal in the Tokyo Games.

Completely out of the Olympic world, I had a fantastic experience working with the Extreme Sailing Series Team Oman Air and then recently before joining the US Sailing Team was privileged enough to spend a few regattas coaching with the Canadian SailGP Team.

Why the American Team?

I’m really excited to have joined the US Sailing Team in my role, I see a huge amount of potential with the athletes that are currently involved. I’m also very excited to be involved a home Olympic Games having experienced that for  London 2012 with the British team.

What is your vision for the Team?

So my vision for the Team is to create a culture which breeds professionalism, fun, collaboration in sailors- that they’re intrigued to learn more and leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of performance. And if all those things can come together that we end up getting the results that the sailors deserve and that the Team is striving to achieve.

You’re coming into the Team very late in the cycle- what is your plan for Paris?

It’s challenging parachuting into the team so late in this Olympic cycle but I have a goal and a vision that I can add value to each of the athletes’ performances through the Olympics. I aim to do that by creating an environment where they can focus on their daily goals, they can focus on their processes, and they don’t have to worry about anything else. I think that we’ve got a wide range of experience on Team USA that will be competing in Paris this summer. We’ve got some first time Olympic athletes and some having another bite of the cherry. I’m really excited to see if we can maximize their potential and see them fulfill their dreams this summer.

What’s your outlook on Los Angeles 2028?

I think having a home Games in LA is a really exciting opportunity and I think that over the next four years we have a fantastic environment within which we have to explore, we have to learn. We’re looking to build depth of talent across our sailing team through the different disciplines- I see a group of athletes with a huge amount of potential and I see a home Games in a couple of years time which is something that I’m really excited about having experienced the Paralympics in London and being part of the British Sailing Team in 2012. I’ve seen that getting the local community and getting the nation behind you is a really motivating thing.

What is your favorite non-Olympic boat?

The 18 foot skiff. I’ve had a few experiences in that class over my time in the sport and a very good mix between swimming and sailing.

What is your order at a French bakery?

A mix of pain au chocolat, croissants, and café crème.

If you weren’t working in sailing professionally, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t working in the marine industry in sailing, I think that I probably would have chosen a career in carpentry or something creative like that. Something completely different.

What do you do in your free time?

My favorite thing to do in my free time is spend time with my family. I have my wife, Kirsty, my eldest daughter, Cara, and my youngest daughter, Skye. And a cat called – it’s debatable – the children call him Claws, we adopted him, I call him Jeff. But I try to educate my children in the ways of the world of sailing to various degrees of success.

Do you have a motto?

I heard a long time ago someone say “If not now, then when? And if not you, then who?” and it’s something that’s stuck with me and contributed towards my work ethic and my approach to daily life.

Closing thoughts?

The Olympics is around the corner, I’m very much looking forward to it and I hope all of you in the USA are, too. I have one request which is that you cheer so loud that we can hear you from France.

Courtesy of US Sailing. Words by Allison Chenard.


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