Katie Flood and David Hein are the youngest team training and competing for the single spot on the US Olympic Sailing Team for the 2016 Games in Rio.
Together they are using their youth as an advantage in the rigorous competition to the top. Sailing against a fleet of competitors that carry an average of 36, Team FollowUsToRio has the energy, determination and dedication to pull all their energy, enthusiasm and keen mental acuity together to realize victory at the US Olympic Sailing Trials in 2015.
These two focused teens have as much competitive sailing experience as the best in their class, with David’s competitive sailing history dating back more than 1/2 of his life when he began racing the Optimist Dinghy at the age of 8 at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River, Ohio. His fortitude gained him a coveted position on the US National Optimist Team (USNT) where David represented his country at regattas across North America, in Europe, South America and the Caribbean. David’s boat handling and tactical abilities earned him a spot on the US Sailing Development team in January of 2013, only a week before he turned 16.
Katie has spent her life aboard boats in Miami, Florida. Growing up in the center of Olympic sailing in North America, Katie has had experience in several classes including windsurfing, Hobie 16, Nacra 17 and 18 and other competitive multihulls. As a senior at Design and Architecture High School -one of the top ten magnet schools in the U.S. (www.dashschool.org) – she is determined to excel academically in preparation for her collegiate career while working hard toward the US Trials and representing the United States in Rio de Janiero, Brazil 2016.
Although it is a little difficult juggling school and racing, Katie finds that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make life work to achieve your goal. “There are plenty of people willing to discourage you…and tell you that you just will not be able to succeed. I think this quote by Theodore Roosevelt says it best: Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. This is going to be a grand adventure!” Katie adds in her own words.
This young, energetic team is poised for success and their efforts are resonating across their generation as sailors from New England to California and everywhere in between actively follow their pursuits and cheer their peers onto victory! You can see the ever growing number of fans the team has on Twitter @FollowMetoRio and note how many high school and collegiate athletes are supporting their peers in the sport of Sailing!
David and Katie are fighting an uphill battle. Not unlike Oracle Team USA looking at their 8-1 deficit in the 34th Americas Cup, this youth team is fighting against teams with more experience, training and support networks. This however does not deter the teens one bit, it serves as motivation to make it happen! They have an aggressive training schedule ahead of them, bringing in several of the top multihull coaches in the world to give them the best advantage to eliminate their shortcomings while strengthening their abilities all around. They also follow a strict physical workout routine created by the US Sailing Team Trainer, Chris Herrera at Jaguar in Coconut Grove. Their regatta schedule includes the entire ISAF World Cup series, the NACRA 17 Worlds, ISAF World Sailing Championships and several other international events that will help to prime them for the start of the US Trails in January 2015.
David and Katie need your help to become the best in the country. With their coaching, training, equipment, travel and event schedule, their daily expenses total $1440. That is a lot for two teenage athletes, but when you consider these two have the twinkle of Olympic Gold in their eyes, and the fortitude to see it through it quickly becomes an expense that speaks to the ability of every American youth to achieve anything they are willing to work hard for. This team knows that in order for them to win, they must put in more time, effort and energy than everyone they are competing against and they take their responsibility seriously!
Please help Katie and David to achieve their goals and prove to every American Youth that there is nothing that hard work and dedication can not bring to each and every person in their expansive and eager generation!