Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) grew up sailing in the sabot class in southern California, and was a dominant force at both the high school and collegiate level. A four-time All-American selection at Georgetown, Buckingham helped the Hoyas win the ICSA Co-Ed National Championship during his freshman year.
On April 1, 2016, Buckingham earned selection to the Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team based on the results of the US Sailing Olympic Athlete Selection Series in the men’s one-person dinghy. The Laser North American Champion has been the top U.S. athlete in this class for the past four years, and has represented the United States at the Pan American Games and during two test events at the 2016 Olympic venue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This will be the first career Olympic Games appearance for Buckingham.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was probably ten years old,” said the two-time ICSA College Sailor of the Year after his selection. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last four years, since the last trials, and so today’s a special day.”
Pictured: Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.), Laser, US Sailing Team.
While Buckingham’s results have consistently exceeded his US Sailing Team Sperry (national team) teammates during the Rio 2016 quadrennium, he noted that the Selection Series, and its final stage at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia (March 25 – April 2) in Palma de Mallorca, proved to be a challenge. “I felt like I had to put extra attention into making sure I didn’t make big mistakes to put myself out of the event. It was definitely a stressful week at times, but I’m glad the result went my way.” Buckingham entered the regatta in Spain with an eight-point lead over his closest U.S. competitor.
Buckingham’s Rio 2016 campaign is his second attempt at earning Olympic selection, after competing for a spot at London 2012 fresh off his standout intercollegiate career. “I’m definitely more experienced, and I have four years of preparation behind me, so it’s been quite different,” said Buckingham. “I basically went into the last trials with no preparation. I had four years of college sailing, but no full-time Olympic experience. This time around, I felt like I was ready for it.”
Pictured: The Laser Fleet at the 2015 Rio Olympic Test Event.
The Laser fleet is renowned for its depth of talent, but Buckingham’s results, including 7th place finishes at both the 2014 Laser World Championship and 2015 Olympic Test Event, have secured his standing as an elite competitor. “The margin of error is pretty small. You get punished for every little mistake you make in this fleet,” said Buckingham. “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.”
Buckingham will now return his attention to preparing for the Games in Rio, and towards delivering a career-best performance on one of the biggest stages in sports. “I’ve had some good moments and good results. I just need to figure out how I can put the pieces together, and have a good week in August.”
Pictured: Buckingham racing in Rio de Janeiro, August 2015.
EXPANDED SAILING RESUME:
22nd, Laser, ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères (FRA)
12th, Laser, ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma (ESP)
3rd, Laser, 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami
7th, Laser, 2012 Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, Fla. (ISAF Sailing World Cup)
4th, Laser, 2012 Princess Sofia Trophy, Palma, ESP (ISAF Sailing World Cup)
30th, Laser, 2012 World Championship
4th, Laser, 2012 Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, NED (ISAF Sailing World Cup)
10th. Laser, 2012 Sail For Gold Regatta, Weymouth, U.K. (ISAF Sailing World Cup)
14th, Laser, 2012 European Championship