The America's Cup

The America's Cup is a trophy awarded in which sport?

And the answer: sailing.

The America's Cup races are held between two sailing yachts, one sailed by the existing trophy holder and another sailed by a challenger. The first match was held in 1851, making The America's Cup the oldest trophy in international sport, predating the modern Olympics.    

Photo: Bloomberg.

Though perhaps not the most famous competitive sporting award, The America's Cup is a historic sailing competition dating back to the 19th century. In 1851, a group of businessmen from New York sailed a schooner across the Atlantic Ocean to the World's Fair in England. There, the schooner won a race around the Isle of Wight against a fleet of British yachts to claim the £100 Cup. Naturally, the schooner was named "America," and thus so was the competition.

Photo: The New York Times.

Enticed by the victory, American sailors went on to claim the Cup for the next 132 years. Boats representing America successfully defended the trophy 24 times from 1870 through 1980, until 1983 when the Australian II managed to become the first to claim the Cup from their American competitors. With such a long American winning streak in its history, The America’s Cup is without a doubt the most difficult trophy in sport to win. In the more than 160 years since that first race to England, only four nations have won what is often called the “oldest trophy in international sport.”

The race for The America's Cup continues today, albeit in higher contestation. The most recent winner of the Cup was New Zealand in 2021, but the jury remains out on our 2022 winner. Will it be the United States again, or a competitor? Learn when and where to watch this competition here.

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