Paul Cayard has resigned as US Sailing executive director with fewer than 18 months to go until the Paris 2024 Olympics ©Getty Images

Paul Cayard has quit as executive director of US Sailing, admitting that the organisation’s new structure is "not what I signed up for".

US Sailing announced on Friday (February 24) that it had undergone an operational restructuring in preparation for next year’s Olympics in Paris.

Cayard had previously been responsible for leading team operation as well as raising financial support for the team.

Under the new structure, the executive director would be tasked with fundraising, with a Head of Olympic Operations working full-time on running the team for Paris 2024.

Cayard told the Associated Press that he was told about the changes just minutes before the US Sailing Board meeting.

"In March of 2021, I accepted the position as head of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team, with the goal of getting Team USA back on the podium," said Cayard.

"Unfortunately, the current Board of US Sailing recently restructured the Olympic Department, including my role as executive director.

"The new structure is not what I signed up for, nor something I am willing to be part of.

"I am not a quitter, but I do know when it is time to go.

The United States failed to pick up a single sailing medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©Getty Images
The United States failed to pick up a single sailing medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©Getty Images

"I am grateful to those who supported this mission with me.

"I wish our USA athletes great success and I always will be there for them."

Cayard was appointed in place of Malcolm Page who left the role in September 2019 - just 10 months prior to Tokyo 2020 was originally scheduled to take place before the Games were moved to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US has a rich history in sailing, racking up 21 medals at Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992.

Only Britain has won more Olympic titles than the US.

But the US has picked up just one bronze in the past three Games and failed to get on the podium at Tokyo 2020.

After the Olympics in the Japanese capital, Cayard pledged to reboot the country’s "winning" machine in the sport as part of a seven-year mission to return to the top of the podium.

But the former American yachtsman, who claimed world gold in the Star class in 1988 and is a two-time Olympian, has decided to leave the organisation with fewer than 18 months to go until Paris 2024.

US Sailing President Richard Jepsen told the Associated Press that Cayard refused to accept the organisation’s offer.

"[Cayard] was offered the ability to continue to support the team by, among other things, providing valuable input into its direction and leading the important fundraising efforts," said Jepsen.

"He declined, and we respect his decision."