Tributes Pour In For Olympic Gold Medalist Andrew Simpson After Yacht Tragedy
The sailing community has paid tribute to British Olympic Gold Medalist ANDREW SIMPSON, "who died on Thursday after his team's yacht capsized in San Francisco Bay and trapped him underwater during training for the America's Cup," according to Carroll & Siddique of the London GUARDIAN. The 72ft Artemis catamaran tipped over at 1:15pm local time, "plunging its 13-strong crew into the water and trapping Simpson under the vessel's platform for about 10 minutes." Simpson won a Gold Medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a crew member in the Star class, and "took silver last year at the London Games." He also "won a Star gold at the 2010 World Championships." Artemis CEO PAUL CAYARD: "The entire team is devastated by what happened." Royal Yachting Association Olympic Manager STEPHEN PARK described Simpson as "a fantastic sailor who got the best out of everyone he sailed with." The British Olympic Association said he was a "treasured and accomplished member of Team GB." LOCOG Deputy Chair KEITH MILLS "pulled out of an honours ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday because of Simpson's death" (GUARDIAN, 5/10).
SAFETY FEARS: In London, Nick Pitt wrote fears over the safety of the catamaran in which Simpson lost his life "were expressed months ago." The AC72 "was supposed to be the speed machine that would catapult America's Cup sailing into the high-octane, television-packaged world of sports" such as Formula 1. But now America's Cup Event Authority CEO STEPHEN BARCLAY "is refusing to rule out delaying the July 4 start of the Louis Vuitton Cup series, which determines the challenger to take on Oracle in the America's Cup proper." Barclay: "We need to know what happened" (SUNDAY TIMES, 5/12).