Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker and Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill compete during the final race of the America's Cup.
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
What if the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS to complete the only 3-0 comeback in major league history except that it was accomplished on water?
What if the Buffalo Bills, down 35-3 at the half, came back to beat the Houston Oilers in the 1993 NFL playoffs and, instead of a gridiron, they played the game on San Francisco Bay?
That’s our way of saying that, on Wednesday, the United States won the 2013 America’s Cup with one of the greatest comebacks in sports.
"I'm going to rank it No. 1. We never gave up," skipper Jimmy Spithill said.
Spithill piloted Oracle Team USA’s space-age, 72-foot catamaran to its eighth straight victory to win 9-8, speeding past Team New Zealand on a course bordered by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Embarcadero.
Owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warm-up regattas and had to win 11 races to defend the trophy, including the last eight in a row.
“There's nothing like going all in," Spithill said. "I'm so proud of the boys. ... They didn't flinch."
Powered by a 131-foot wing sail, the catamarans have hit 50 mph, faster than the speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Ellison praised his entire team for finding the right mode for the boat.
"The guys finally cracked the code, finally figured out what we had to do," said Ellison, who has spent an estimated $500 million the last 11 years in pursuing, winning and now defending the silver trophy.
Ellison climbed aboard and was showered with champagne by the celebrating crew before saying: "This regatta has changed sailing forever."
Then, he joked that the next America’s Cup might be around Lanai. Believe it or not, per media reports, Ellison purchased 98 percent of the Hawaiian island in 2012.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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