Charlie Buckingham, a member of the US Sailing Team Sperry and sponsored by West Coast University, has been training for years and finally has earned a place on the US Olympic Sailing Team.
Charlie has been working his way up through the international sailing rankings, with top-10 finishes at five of the biggest international Laser events over the past year, including a fourth-place finish at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada and seventh-place finish at the 2015 Rio Test Event, a prelude to the Olympic Games.
"It's been a dream of mine since I was probably 10 years old,” Buckingham said. “I've been thinking about this a lot over the last four years, since the last trials, and so today's a special day,” he added after securing his spot on the team following racing on April 1.
After just missing the cut four years ago, Buckingham earned the privilege of representing his country in Rio with his recent performance at an Olympic qualifying event in Spain.
"The margin of error is pretty small. You get punished for every little mistake you make in this fleet. It makes the racing a challenge, but that's why I like it. I really enjoy lining up against the best in the world, and really testing myself."
A native of Newport Beach, California, Buckingham began sailing at age 8 with his father and went on to be named College Sailor of the Year twice and a four-time Inter-collegiate Sailing Association All-American.
Charlie previously wrote in an article for sailing publication Hard on the Wind, “This journey would not be possible without a strong support system… I would like to thank David Pyle, of my title sponsor, West Coast University, for believing in me and supporting my journey to the fullest.”
“We are incredibly proud of Charlie achieving his spot at the 2016 Olympics,” WCU Chairman of the Board David Pyle said. “His exemplary dedication and commitment to his sport set him ahead of the curve and we are proud to sponsor his efforts to achieve athletic greatness.”
West Coast University looks forward to following Charlie as he continues his journey!