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Greatest Comeback in Sports History: Oracle Beats New Zealand to Keep America's Cup


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Skipper Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA won the America's Cup on Wednesday with one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

Spithill steered Oracle's space-age, 72-foot catamaran to its eighth straight victory, speeding past Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand in the winner-take-all Race 19 on San Francisco Bay to keep the oldest trophy in international sports in the United States.

All but defeated a week ago, the 34-year-old Australian and his international crew twice rallied from seven-point deficits to win 9-8. Owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warmup regattas and had to win 11 races to keep the Auld Mug.

After almost dunking its chances when it buried its bows in a wave shortly after the start, Oracle showed its incredible speed when it reeled in the Kiwis while zigzagging toward the Golden Gate Bridge on the windward third leg.

As Oracle worked to keep its lead, tactician Ben Ainslie, a four-time Olympic gold medalist from Britain, implored his mates by saying, "This is it. This is it. Working your (rears) off."

There were hugs and handshakes after Spithill steered the fast cat across the finish line off America's Cup Park on Piers 27-29. Ellison hopped on board and the crew sprayed him with champagne.

Spithill refused to let his team fold after the penalties were announced four days before racing started and led an almost unimaginable rally.

How big a win was this?

In sailing terms, it was the equivalent of the Boston Red Sox sweeping the final four games of the 2004 ALCS over the New York Yankees, the only 3-0 comeback in major league history. It's also comparable to the Philadelphia Flyers overcoming a 0-3 deficit to beat the Boston Bruins in the 2010 NHL playoffs.

So once again Ellison proves that it's okay to cheat, lie and steal your way to victory.

Ellison proves that's the only way to win when Ellison is one of the competitors.

Tough crowd!

Yep, a tough crowd indeed! People may have various opinions about Larry, but it's undeniable that Oracle Team USA showed incredible determination and grit to defend the America's Cup...

They also cheated.

Let's set the record straight:  Oracle Team USA did not cheat during the course of the 2013 America's Cup match.  IN FACT ....

Team USA could have won the 2013 series earlier if it hadn't been docked two wins for cheating by illegally modifying its boats to make them faster and more stable. The cheating didn't happen during the America's Cup match but during the Cup's warm-up regattas in 2012. Earlier this month an international jury handed out a two-race penalty, fined the team $250,000, expelled three crew members and suspended a fourth.

____It was the harshest punishment in the 162-year history of the America's Cup.____

The two-race penalty was striking because it was not carried out in the event where it occurred. The regattas last year were not qualifying races but simply pre-match exhibitions — Team USA didn't need to win those to make it to the Cup final. "This wasn't the Black Sox throwing the World Series," editor Cort said. "This was like some of the players cheating in a game early in the season that made no difference."

In addition to being docked two wins, Team USA lost three crew members, including one of its key sailors: Dirk de Ridder, who trims the wingsail powering the boat. The others suspended from the entire America's Cup were a rigger and a boat builder. A grinder was suspended for four races, and one sailor was given a warning. (Read the jury's findings here and here and here.)

Oracle Team USA's CEO, Russell Coutts, said the modifications were a "stupid thing to do," but called the penalty "ridiculous" and "grossly unfair."

"It sets an unbelievable precedent," Coutts told The Associated Press when the penalty was handed down. "The rules infractions involved only a few of our 130 team members and were done without the knowledge of either our team's management or the skippers who were driving the boats. … Think of Olympic athletes on a team breaking the rules and a whole team getting penalized. It's completely outrageous."

Source:  http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/26/20692957-cheating-penalty-nearly-scuttled-team-usas-americas-cup-victory?lite

Geege, here's where I have a problem:

"This was like some of the players cheating in a game early in the season that made no difference."

So they cheated on something that didn't matter.

I repeat: they cheated on something that didn't matter.

Why should ANY cheating be tolerated?

It makes us feel like that's the only time they were caught, not that they stopped cheating.

I feel that way whenever anyone gets caught cheating, which in the world of sports is every single day. 

As for the cheating being *tolerated*: 

"Earlier this month an international jury handed out a two-race penalty, fined the team $250,000, expelled three crew members and suspended a fourth.  It was the harshest punishment in the 162-year history of the America's Cup."

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