Opening Ceremonies was exhilarating! Over 80,000 people chanting “USA,USA,USA” with thunderous applause as Team USA made our way through the tunnel, into Olympic Stadium. It is a feeling that cannot duplicated, and one that you wish you could share with each and every person that helped you get to The Games.
The best I can do for now is pass along this unique spirit, and remind us all, how fortunate we are to be Americans – and equally, how proud each athlete is here to be representing their own country.
As for the competition at The Venue, last minute preparations include checking over and replacing any random parts that even have a hint of breaking, waxing and polishing the race boat one more time (again!), and last minute Team weather briefings with our meteorologists. Every team is so ready that even some light hearted – but clever – practical jokes are in play between nations. We have practiced, trained and competed against these same elite international athletes all over the World so much over the last several years, that the mutual respect that has developed, cannot help but bleed into some type of imbedded friendships – refreshing…well, at least while not “in competition”.
Today was Measurement Day. Sometimes this day can be a bit nerve-wracking if you have made a change to your Boat that the Measurers do not interpret “the change” the same way you do. However, we have not made any changes in a very long time, and the Boat has been measured multiple times at International Events, so – no problems! (Note: the Boats are all “one-design” meaning that they are all the same and you can only make very slight modifications within the rules).
The remainder of the day, like the other 14 Teams –all of us side-by-side at the Venue with a lot of friendly jousting, but the underlying competitive juices are starting to peek through the cracks, was spent double and triple-checking all our equipment to make sure there is no room for failures in any of our ‘’operational systems”. This is always important, because especially here, in Weymouth/Portland - the winds can be ferocious, to say the least, putting extremely heavy loads, or pressure, on your Boat. We know this from experience as we have broken a lot of equipment here when training and racing here over the last two years!
Anyway, the Team did a great job preparing the Boat….and Opening Ceremonies are tomorrow night in London! So exciting, and here is our rumbling speedster…..
Best practice day in quite a while today! We were fast! Wind started at 10 knots, then quickly jumped to 22 knots as we sailed directly at huge Portland mountain with swirling around both sides of it – very shifty necessitating very quick tacks – 20 degree shifts. (This mountain is so big it houses a prison inside the top of it!).
Performed very well in these practice races. Coach Betsy on board again today while Tom getting through his nasty cold. Tomorrow is Measurement Day – we measure “in” boat, sails, safety equipment for at 9:00 a.m., then go practice.
Reception with local dignitaries last night. See picture with Mayor of Portland – a very sincere and delightful lady. Great USA Team dinner tonight at “The Crab Shack”.
Beautiful day of sunshine today – a rarity in jolly ‘ol Weymouth/Porttland !
We had practice races this afternoon against NOR, ISR, GBR, GER, AUS, IRL and several other countries in 20 knots of breeze from the South. Everyone continues to go up and down the 4 mile race course bunched together, as it has been for the last year, with no one breaking away from the pack. We were fast downwind while racing but a snag in the steering system brought us in a bit early – being fixed right now by our ‘’bosun’’, Donny Brennan from Mobile, Alabama. Dinner with greetings from Mayor tonight.
Heavy winds and strong rain predicted for tomorrow!
After getting settled in our Village over
the last couple of days, we got the boat out on the race course for a
“shake-down” sail. Lots and of security here in the Village but
everything you could possibly need is here – great food, spacious
housing, laundry services, etc.
The Weymouth/Portland sailing venue,
which we have become very familiar with over the last two years, proved
no different today. A comfortable 17 knots of breeze from the Southwest.
Great sail until we noticed a “hair line crack” in our metal “ boom
vang support” part. So, back into the harbor we comfortably sailed to
get it fixed in time for tomorrow’s aftrenoon practice – better to find
the possible problem now, than next week’s racing!
London, England (CNN) -- Not many people would see quadriplegia as a gift. But then, not many people are Paul Callahan.
As a 21-year-old Harvard University student, Paul's life was full of possibility. An undergraduate studying business at one of the best universities in the world, there was a lot to look forward to for the young man from Massachusetts.
Then a freak accident changed everything. Paul slipped on a wet floor, breaking his neck and rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. He retained the use of his arms, but not his hands. READ ON
"You've only got a limited amount of time in life. So you may as well
choose to put that towards positive effort, rather than squandering it
on the negative."
Since winning the USA Sailing Trials, our three-person “Sonar” Team has been training rigorously in preparation for the Paralympic Games. We made one final trip to the Olympic venue where we will be competing, in June for a month of practice and racing.
Because the Olympic Committee closes down the venue for security and logistical reasons on July 1, we have been training domestically since that time. Most recently, we had a 15-day training camp with our Norwegian competitors in Newport, RI. The Norwegians are among the top three teams in the world, so it is great to have a “friendly” international training partner of the highest caliber.
Also, we have been competing in able-bodied regattas in both Marblehead, MA, and Falmouth, MA, and have done well. So, all the training has been complete, and now it is just checking all of our equipment multiple times to avoid any possible breakdowns. Further, we are getting close to the culmination of this spectacular journey of going to the Olympic/Paralympic Games.
Please stand by for more updates that are coming fast and furious!