CHICAGO BASKETBALL STAR BOBBY PORTIS SAILS THROUGH LAND ROVER BAR CHALLENGE

(WHITLEY)  June 9, 2016: Britain’s America’s Cup team, Land Rover BAR, issued a challenge to leading basketball player, Bobby Portis, to see if he has got what it takes to be a professional sailor.

The 21-year old newly relocated Chicago player who has recently left the University of Arkansas’ Razorbacks was put through his paces by Land Rover BAR’s Head of Strength and Conditioning, Ben Williams.

Williams, with a background in physical training and rehabilitation, gave the players some insight into the fitness required to compete at America’s Cup level. As one of the greatest technical and physical challenges in sport, it demands the fittest athletes to perform at the highest levels for prolonged periods.

After a bespoke sailing workout covering strength, mobility and endurance, Portis then went head-to-head in a grinding challenge with the Land Rover BAR sailing team, and managed to power into second place on the leaderboard – an impressive finish behind the main power house of the team, Freddie Carr.

It was then the turn of Bobby to put the sailors’ ball skills to the test on a pop-up court in the team’s technical area. After some shooting practice with Bobby, the team attempted the Free-Throw Challenge which put them to the test and Bobby Portis demonstrated why he is labeled ‘an explosive ball of energy’.

Bobby Portis, said: “These guys are endurance athletes and their demonstration today showed what it takes to sail these boats at such high speeds, highlighting just how fit they all are. Joining them to train was great and you can see the pressure, energy and strength they have. They certainly put me through my paces during the training session - but I had them on the court!”

Ben Williams, Head of Strength and Conditioning, said; “Previously America’s Cup sailors were power and sprint athletes, and now this has changed thanks to the new challenges in today’s boat design, the sailing teams are required to train more like time trial cyclists. From today, we have also seen that there are many comparisons between sailing and basketball from the high intensity workouts to the importance of building strength, awareness and mobility whilst on the court and the water.

“Training with the Chicago basketball players, who are extremely physically fit, demonstrates how powerful and agile the sailors are in order to drive these two-tonne flying boats above the water. The sport of sailing does compete and compare in endurance and strength with many other high profile sports across the world.”

The sport of sailing is changing and the physical demands of the sailors has significantly increased and unlike the campaigns of the past the sailors have to be in peak condition in order to drive these two tonne flying boats across the water.

Bobby Portis was due to sail on the race boat with the team today, however the practice racing was cancelled due to bad weather.

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series overall results after five events:

Emirates Team New Zealand – 244
Oracle Team USA – 236
Land Rover BAR – 227
Softbank Team Japan – 203
Artemis Racing – 201
Groupama Team France – 194

© 2016 Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC