US Paralympic gold medallist Nick SCANDONE, 42, passed away Friday, after a long battle with ALS, also commonly called Lou Gehrig's Disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Nick SCANDONE won a coveted gold medal with teammate Maureen MCKINNON-TUCKER (USA) in the Two-Person Keelboat - SKUD18 event at the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao, China, this past summer.
"The sport of sailing has lost a great competitor and the most inspirational person most of us will ever know," said Dean BRENNER, Chairman of US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Program. "Words can't describe the pride so many people felt watching Nick take the last few steps towards his dream in China last summer. He was a gold medallist on and off the water, and we'll miss him dearly."
SCANDONE beat the odds of his disease by not only being strong enough to compete at the 2008 Paralympic Games, but by winning the gold medal a day early, with two races left to go. "It's been such a long road to get [to the 2008 Games],"
said SCANDONE after he won. "It's emotionally overwhelming for me to finally realize my goal."
There were countless days filled with doubt, exhaustion and adversity, but he and MCKINNON-TUCKER met each challenge with incredible strength and determination. SCANDONE was a US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member, named US SAILING's 2008 Sportsman of the Year, nominated for US SAILING's 2008 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtsman of the Year award and winner of US SAILING's 2005 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award.
For more information and background on Nick SCANDONE, please click here read his bio on the US SAILING website.