U.S. Sailing Unveils Their Olympic Sails for Rio Games

It's only appropriate that United States sailing athletes proudly represent their country by making themselves known on the waters of Marina da Glória on Guanabara Bay.

Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris – sailing in the men's Olympic 49er class – are easily seen below (left) with their training partners Hans Henken and Judge Ryan (right). The picturesque backdrop of Sugarloaf Mountain adds to the eye-popping red, white and blue spinnakers of these 49er boats.

"Five of 10 types of Olympic boats compete with a large U.S. flag spinnaker," Josh Adams, Managing Director of U.S. Olympic sailing, told NBCOlympics.com. "The rest have smaller American flags on their sails."

Adams also stated that professional sail makers in coordination with the boat manufacturers and Olympic boat class associations make these impressive U.S.-flagged spinnakers. 

Since U.S. Sailing athletes don't know how their sails will exactly look like once they arrive – one could say that it's comparable to unwrapping a gift on Christmas.

And Christmas came early for Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha on Saturday – who sail in the women's 470 Olympic class.

There's much excitement to unwrap the sail that many sailing fans across the world will see during the Rio Games. A sail that these Olympic athletes worked so hard to achieve. 

So, how long does it take to make them?

"Depends on the sail," said Adams. "Generally speaking the process to make these sails is considerably more time consuming than a standard spinnaker."

"The sail makers use special methods to apply country flag colors without sacrificing the design and construction qualities of the sail," said Adams. "Athletes have been training all their lives to be able to race with the stars and stripes on their spinnaker!"

"Most received them in recent weeks to be able to test the new sails during training periods run by the U.S. Sailing team during May-July in Rio."

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