Lifestyle & Belief

Miracle on water: Team USA completes comeback to win America's Cup over New Zealand (VIDEO)


Oracle Team USA crew members skippered by James Spithill celebrates after they beat Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker in race 19 to win the America's Cup on September 25, 2013 in San Francisco, California.


Ezra Shaw

The America's Cup is so-named for a reason.

Oracle Team USA added to sailing lore on Wednesday afternoon by winning the America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand in a result of epic proportions.

New Zealand had staked an 8-1 edge in the best-of-17 race only to watch OTUSA slowly chip away, culminating in today's finishing flourish on San Francisco Bay.

“It was a fantastic race. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill, now a two-time Cup winner. “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. On your own you’re nothing, but a team like this can make you look great. … We were facing the barrel of a gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch.

“Thanks to San Francisco, this is one hell of a day,” Spithill said.

It is the greatest comeback in the event’s history, and that’s a long history that dates back to 1851.

“You can get wobbly in the knees or look straight down the barrel and smile, and that is what this team has done,” Spithill told Agence France-Presse before the race.

They’ve had to because Team USA began with a two-race penalty for using illegal boats during practice.

It didn’t get any better once the sailing began, with New Zealand building what seemed like an insurmountable lead.

That didn’t stop the race, however. The Americans fought hard and won the next seven races to prevent Emirates from hoisting the “Auld Mug.”

“It’s the most exciting day of all of our lives and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Spithill said in a USA Today article.

For his part, New Zealand skipper Dean Barker remained pragmatic before the race.

After all, what can you say about losing seven straight times?

"We absolutely do believe we can win," Barker told AFP. "It is one thing talking about it; we have to get everything together to make it happen."

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.