Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA finished off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history this afternoon, winning the 19th and final race in the best-of-17 regatta to defend America's Cup. Here's the Associated Press with the details from San Francisco:
[Skipper Jimmy] 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 Wednesday. ... Oracle's showed its incredible speed when it reeled in the Kiwis while zigzagging toward the Golden Gate Bridge on the windward third leg.
Oracle began the finals in the negative after being docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warm-up regattas, so the Ellison-owned team actually had to win 11 races before the New Zealand squad won its ninth race.
Patriotic pride (and ownership) aside, Team USA is a bit of misnomer when you look at the roster of the Oracle boat: There was only one American on the 11-man crew that is now celebrating with the Auld Mug. As the defenders of the cup, the Oracle brass will get to set the ground rules for—and pick the location of—the next America's Cup competition.