Congratulations to Sonar Team USA 1 on another hard-earned victory! Team USA 1 took first place at the Helly Hansen St. Petersburg NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) Regatta 2016 last Saturday.
The crew of Racing To Rio was excited to catch the team on film. Competition was strong and the team had to race able-bodied and disabled sailors alike, but triumphed in the end. Perseverance, passion, and a love for the water definitely shined through.
The Barbaro-Gould Foundation and its crew are thrilled for Team USA 1 and wish them the best of luck on their journey to Rio 2016!
As always, your donations help us bring this story to life!
Sailing is an age-old sport and a pillar of human progress. People have been sailing since the beginning of time, both for necessity and for leisure. Advancements in travel and trade not only led to the honing of seafaring skills, but also to the development of great civilizations. Today, sailing is just as important as it always has been, and has even branched out into a sport by itself.
Sailboat racing started out as yacht racing in the 17th and 18th centuries, and has since then, extended to a variety of sub-categories, including Paralympic Sailing. Sailing became popular among disabled sailors in the 1980s and by 1988, the newly formed International Handicap Sailing Community (IHSC) started organizing competitions for the disabled. After sailing appeared as an exhibition sport in the 1990 World Games for the Disabled, the IHSC was recognized by the International Sailing Foundation and renamed the International Foundation for Disabled Sailors (IFDS). Paralympic Sailing then appeared in 1996 as a demonstration sport and by 2000, sailing became an official Paralympic sport. Twelve countries participated in the 1996 demonstration and seventeen countries participated in the official 2000 Sailing Paralympics.
Paralympic sailing is now famous on the world stage and maintains a reputation for being one of the few Paralympic sports that encompasses nearly all ranges of disabilities. It levels the playing field for all disabled sailors and even allows them to race with able-bodied sailors. Paralympic sailing is a sport embraced by sailors all over the world because of this. Racing To Rio seeks to depict this beloved aspect of Paralympic sailing one final time as it films Sonar Team USA 1 and the challenges and victories of its members as they reach for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
In a decision that upset sailors world-wide, the International Paralympic Committee elected to officially remove sailing from the 2020 Paralympics. This decision may cement the Rio 2016 Paralympics as the final Paralympic sailing games in history. Team USA1 recognizes that 2016 may be its final opportunity to compete in the sailing Paralympics and win a gold medal for the U.S. The question of “what comes next?” looms over the minds of every Paralympic sailor as they prepare for what could be the most competitive Paralympic sailing game of their lives.
Racing To Rio will raise awareness for the importance of Paralympic sailing on both the local and international stage. It is the crew’s goal to show the world what an impact Paralympic Sailing has had on the lives of its participants and supporters, as well as those around them. If that goal is reached, then maybe, just maybe, the story of Paralympic Sailing will not end in 2016.
Training alongside Team USA 1 is the Canadian Paralympic Sonar Team, whose members have been welcomed by the Clearwater area with open arms. Both teams are working with coach Mike Ingham with a common goal in mind: Racing to Rio 2016.
We look forward to capturing the high spirits of all involved as the Canadian Paralympic Sonar Team exchanges creativity, sporstsmanship, and most of all, passion, with Team USA 1.
Racing to Rio is far more than the journey of a few elite athletes striving for world records, gold medals and personal bests. Racing to Rio is the story of transformation from individuals overcoming personal challenges to become world-class sailors and heroes who inspire others to face their challenges and live life to the fullest through the sport of sailing. Racing to Rio is literally about Brad Kendell's journey to the Paralympics in Rio 2016, but also serves on a larger scale as a metaphor for all people who face challenges and how they can take on life to win their own "races" by being the best they can be.