I am honored to appear on the cover of the most recent Westlife Newspaper!
It is not every day when I am covered by local newspapers and to my knowledge have never been front-page news, that is until this edition of the Westlife in Northeast, Ohio. Paper staff writer Sue Botos spent some time interviewing me following my meeting with the Rocky River City Council, and her editors and publisher felt the writing and the subject matter warranted top billing in their publication! I really appreciate the writing of Sue Botos and the opportunity to discuss my campaign and overall efforts to get myself to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
You can read the online edition of the story Sue wrote on the Westlife Website.
Here is the news article from the Westlife newspaper as written in the print version of the paper on the front page and continued on A15.
By Sue Botos
For as long as he can remember, David Hein has felt drawn to the water. Watching his older siblings get ready for sail camp at the Cleveland Yachting Club each summer, he couldn’t wait until he turned 8 so he too could join. In his blog, he recalled when the time finally arrived.
“That first summer, I climbed into an Optimist dinghy and fell in love!” he shared.
Hein, now 17, hopes that passion, as well as years of hard work and the support of the community, will lead to a berth on the U.S. sailing team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hoping to drum up support for his venture, Hein addressed City Council at its March 24 session.
Starting with the single-hulled Optimist, Hein quickly became known for his skills, competing with a private joint Canadian/U.S. racing team in regattas throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Then, at age 15, after graduating from Rocky River Middle School, Hein decided it was time to put his entire focus on his Olympic dream.
“In 2011, I went to an online program for school and am working toward making the world team. At 15, I moved to a multihulled boat and worked through the youth ranks and made it to the youth development team last year, then moved to the Olympic development team,” Hein stated. In preparation for Olympic trials, Hein became familiar with the F-16 class catamaran to ready himself for the NACRA17, the newly developed craft for the summer games.
This class is mixed gender, requiring a crew of one male and one female. Hein said his partner, Stephanie Roble, of Chicago, is a world-ranked racer who coached him when he moved from the single-man Optimist to the multihulled craft. He added that Roble operates the tiller to steer the boat.
Training in Miami from September to May and in Rocky River during the summer, Hein tailors his day to provide the maximum time on the water. He typically starts in the gym with an intense workout, then does about four hours of schoolwork online with the Florida Virtual School, where he is in grade 11. After a quick lunch, he rigs his boat and hits the water for at least six hours or until sun and wind conditions become unfavorable. His day often ends with a 30-mile bike ride.
Hein said he is always trying to learn from more experienced sailors, who often are much older. “When we go to a competition, we can tell they are skeptical,” Hein noted. But he lets his sailing do the talking. He was one of only 10 youth sailors named to the U.S. Sailing Team in 2013, and has impressed with his race results.
At the 2014 Sailing World Cup in Miami in January, Hein and his partner missed securing full training support from U.S. Sailing by a one-point technicality, finishing as the fourth U.S. team. However, he has his sights set on the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) World Championship in Spain this fall. “This will be our second shot if we come in the top five,” he stated.
In the meantime, Hein must raise funds to keep his dream afloat. He said a boat costs around $30,000, and should be replaced yearly due to the battering of wind and waves, which could affect its speed. A set of sails, which he hopes to replace before the regatta in Spain, runs about $6,000. “U.S. athletes are self-funded, and unfortunately, sailing is one of the most expensive sports,” commented Hein’s father David, who said that once coaching, travel, equipment and other expenses are added up, a year of world-class competition could total $460,000.
But it is a sacrifice the family is willing to make. “It’s been a challenge doing this for four years,” noted Hein’s mother, Jeanine Hein. “It’s a huge commitment, but he has so much passion. As a parent, you do what you can.”
I am grateful for the exposure that Westlife has given to me and my campaign. My goal is to bring an Olympic Gold home to Cleveland when I return from Rio in 2016! Please help to support my training and competition as I travel the road towards the Olympic Games by making a tax-deductible donation here.
David is available to talk with any youth or adult group about his inspiration, drive and ambition to become an Olympian from the Great Lakes as he did with the Westlife. He is available by phone or txt message at 216-210-3598.