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Tokyo Bound

Sep 1, 2020

STANFORD, Calif. – Earning the opportunity to compete on the world's largest stage, sailing alumnus Luke Muller '18 clinched his spot on the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team for the 2021 Games in Tokyo. Muller qualified as the country's sole representative in the Finn class.
"Earning the Olympic spot means the world to me, but I still have a lot of work to do" said Muller, who will aim to bring home a medal to the United States. American Finn sailors have won medals in three of the last four Olympics.
Muller won his selection after strong results at the 2019 World Championships in Melbourne and the 2020 World Cup in Miami, the latter of which included a third-place finish. The third event of the qualification process was scheduled for May 2020 in Spain, but was canceled due to the coronavirus global outbreak.
While on the Farm, Muller was one of the top singlehanded sailors in the country, which included qualification for four-consecutive singlehanded national championship and two top-10 placements. A team captain in 2016-17, he captured the PCCSC singlehanded championships three times during his Cardinal career('14, '16, '17) and contributed to Stanford's long run of success in the Big Sail match race against rival California. He also finished fourth at the 2017 Sailing World Cup in Miami, which came during his time on campus.
Soon after his graduation from the Farm, Muller became Stanford's first alumnus to earn a roster spot on an America's Cup team since the 80s with Malin Burnham (class of '49) of Stars & Stripes. Muller was hired by New York Yacht Club American Magic, who he sailed with for two years. Muller believes he earned his spot from the work ethic he learned on campus.

"I was attracted to Stanford for a variety of reasons, but I knew there was a culture of excellence and a long list of successful projects tied to the University, athletics among them. Being in the same environment as people who are the best in the world at what they do is inspiring, and made me work that much harder to achieve my goals," continued Muller.

"After hard-fought trials that Luke approached with determination and class, we are so thrilled that he has been named the U.S. representative in the Finn class and know that he will make us proud next year at the Games," said Stanford head coach Brian Swingly. "Luke's journey to this moment started during his time on The Farm, feeding off the energy of the many Stanford Olympians that we are lucky enough to work alongside every day."

When asked about sailing at Stanford, Muller commented, "a great aspect of College sailing is how much one can learn by applying racing principles to different types of boats. More than anything, the best part about sailing in College is being around sailors who love the sport and are excited to learn from one another."

When asked what advice he had for current Stanford sailors who might have similar aspirations, Muller reflected on the overlap he had with some of Stanford's current sailors.

"As college athletes we had to prioritize our time, knowing there would be a lot of time spent away from campus. When adding Olympic sailing to the mix, you have to bee an expert in time management or else the wheels fall off. It was a difficult workload to manage, but not impossible, and being around a great group of people made it easy." "Although there has been a step back in terms of the status of the sport at the University, I think wholeheartedly that the current group of Stanford sailors and alumni can turn things around and make this an opportunity rather than a setback."

The 2021 Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled for July 23-August 8, 2021, with the sailing events beginning July 27. The Finn class is the oldest Olympic sailing event, originating in 1952, and will award its medals on August 3.