US Olympic Sailing duo using postponement to train abroad

Japan 2020

Olympic hopefuls are getting creative as they train amid a global pandemic. That includes a U.S. sailing duo that’s been putting in the work overseas.

It’s like a game of chess, except it’s happening at a rapid pace on the water.

“You have to be playing one step ahead the entire time,” said Stephanie Roble, a graduate of Old Dominion University. “There’s a lot of strategy.”

Roble and Maggie Shea make up this two-woman sailing team, sailing the 49erFX.

“It goes really fast,” Shea said. “It’s just the two of us on board.”

Shea and Roble have been sailing together since 2016, but they’ve known each other for a while.

“We’ve been racing together and against each other since we were 15 years old,” Roble said.

They found out back in February that they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, after winning two back to back World Championships. The postponement was actually welcome news.

Shea said, “We understood the organizers were going to make a good decision for everyone’s safety and well-being and that there was a possibility that it would be cancelled, and so we were very relieved to hear that it was just postponed.”

As a “young team,” the postponement gives them more time to train together.

“Like a gift that we have so much more time to work on these goals,” said Shea. “It comes with a lot of challenges, you know, financially supporting a campaign that’s a full year longer than we anticipated.”

They’re actually training in Europe. That’s where their coach and a lot of their competition is located. They average 200 days on the water every year and hope that time pays off when the games roll around.

“It’s an honor and its a privilege and I just hope to make everyone proud,” said Shea.

“I just think it’s absolutely amazing and I’m really excited to be able to represent Team USA,” Roble said.

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