The Summer Olympics in Rio will be here in only 673 days and we are focused on Gold.
673 days may seem like a really long time but the reality of it is that the time is passing by fast and in no time at all the Summer Olympics will be upon us and we will all be wondering where the time has gone. Sailing a Summer Olympic Campaign is a lot more work than I first imagined. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of fun and I am learning a ton about sailing, myself, working with crew and just life in general but managing the campaign takes a ton of work to do it successfully.
Every morning when I wake up, I spend a few minutes thinking about things I don’t get to do today and people I don’t get to see because of my travel, training and schooling but then I redirect my thoughts to what needs to be done. I have to get out of bed and go for a run to stay in shape and then head down to Sail Newport to rig the boat and go out to sail. When we get back in we have a detailed debrief, eat something and then I have to make a few phone calls to raise money to cover our campaign expenses. We spend an average of $1,444 per day to train to win the US Olympic Trials and get to the Summer Olympics in Rio 2016 and each and every dollar we need comes from individual contributors, corporate sponsors and the money we make from coaching other sailors and talking to high school and college teams about the opportunities that competitive sailing open up in your life. After that it is time for school, dinner, gym workout and then if I am lucky I make it back to my bed before I am asleep for the night. It is a lot to do, it is a lot to think about and there is so much that could go wrong that sometimes it just gets stressful thinking about it.
As I am eating my fruit and yogurt, I start to focus on my run and the weather for the day. I wonder if the conditions today will be like we will have in Rio for the Summer Olympics or if we will have conditions that may simply keep us ashore today. My run is usually a good time to focus on our training for the day so when I get to the boatpark I am focused on how the boat needs to be setup and we can quickly get on the water to train.
When we are on the water, it is time to focus. We need to get better in our maneuvers on the boat. We need to improve our communication, our timing needs to be better…we just need to be faster. In a fleet where tenths of a second determine first, second and third place in many races, timing is everything so we work hard to make everything as smooth and seamless as possible. We spend hours doing drills, timing our movements and discussing what is going right and what we need to fix…then we do it again and again and again. As one of my lifetime heros says, “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do” so we focus on getting better each and every day as we tick one day off our calendar and get one day closer to the Summer Olympics in Rio. We don’t have to be perfect today, we don’t have to be at the top of the fleet today, we just need to be making steady progress each and every day so we will be at the top of the fleet at the Games!
673 days ago there were no NACAR 17’s in the world. The first boats had not been delivered yet and while there were some teams training on F-18’s, no one was fully committed to a Summer Olympics program yet. A lot has happened in the last 673 days!
Today Jessica and I are sailing a full-time campaign. Our training plan has us sailing 300 days a year as we work to develop and move towards the top of the fleet. We know that we are the only team in the USA to be sailing a full-time campaign and we know that that gives us an advantage even though we have some ground to make up being the newest team in the fleet. That is our motivation, we can see each and every day where we are improving and how we are getting faster. We see as we get closer to one boat and then start moving ahead of them, and then the next one and the next. We smile knowing that we are getting better but we know we still have a long way to go.
Sure I know that I have given up a lot in deciding to sail a Summer Olympics Campaign while I am still in high school. I know that I don’t get to hang out with friends and play hs sports or to ski every weekend in the winter or to just be around the friends that I have had since before kindergarten started at Kensington School in Rocky River, Ohio, or that someone I haven’t seen in way too long. I know that I deal with a lot more stress than most highschool seniors deal with. I mean I am taking my SAT’s next weekend just like most seniors are, I am applying to colleges, applying for scholarships and oh yeah, I am trying to keep my GPA up so that those colleges say yes and let me get to the Summer Olympics before I start my freshman year but I also have to plan on sailing hard, requalifying for the US Sailing Team at the ISAF World Cup Miami regatta in January and then figure out the logistics for competing and training in Europe from March through August…oh and I have to raise the money to pay for it all. But in 673 days when I am marching in the opening ceremonies in Rio, I will know that is was all worth it.
To be truthful, it is already worth it. Sure, going to the Summer Olympics will be amazing but I have learned so much about myself and just about life in general that I know it has all been worthwhile. I have made friends that I will have for my entire life, sail against the elite athletes from around the globe in this sport and I know that no matter what happens in the Games or at the US Trials that I am a better person, a stronger person and that I have skills and experiences that will carry me through a lifetime of stress, pressure, struggles and difficult times. I know that no matter what comes before me in my career or anywhere in my life that I will be able to stand strong and get through it with a smile on my face knowing that the lessons I learn…the times I grow the most all come from the tough times and that they make me a better person all around.
Completing in and winning the Summer Olympics will be great, but I know that I am not defined by what happens in 673 days but rather what I do today to make myself ready for the challenges of tomorrow. I am not perfect today and I know I won’t ever be, but I know that I am willing and able to become better and stronger and will have a smile on my face no matter what happens to me in life because I know…I just know that my future is bright and I will see my dreams come true.
Will you please support my campaign by sharing this post on your twitter and facebook with the links below? Also, please ask your company if they will sponsor my campaign and help me to win the Gold Medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio. Their support will help create a champion and they will receive unprecedented exposure through social media, on my boat, trailer, Chevy Silverado truck and here on this blog! Everyone will know your company got me to the Games and your business will increase because of it! I really appreciate you asking them to help!
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