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30 November 2005, 11:30 am
First Unofficial USA Training Camp
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Neil Pryde RS:X

The first USA RS:X Olympic class clinic was held at Beth and Greg WINKLER's Banana River Resort (BBR), Cocoa Beach, Florida over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Former USA Olympic medal winner and NeilPryde's RS:X representative Mike GEBHARDT was on hand to assist aspiring Olympic sailors as they acclimate themselves to the new RS:X equipment.
GEBHARDT, the Olympic coach, has been working with gold medalist Gal FRIDMAN (ISR) and other top sailors. Attending the clinic were sailors from Canada, Puerto Rico, Turkey and the USA, including five junior sailors.

The clinic kicked off with a windy Thanksgiving Day, with six races being held in 20 knot plus winds, the next two days of sailing provided light to breezy conditions, including the light air conditions expected in Qingdao, China the site of the next Olympic Sailing Competition in 2008.

On the water, sailors participated in start sequences and short course racing, interspersed with different drills to improve their sailing technique and racing skills. GEBHARDT manned the committee boat, occasionally hopping off to demonstrate. Back on shore, GEBHARDT helped sailors tune their sails, and conducted several stretching and strength training sessions, all geared toward improving sailing skills and helping the body achieve the level of extreme fitness necessary for Olympic competition. Athletes also had the chance to watch video of them sailing and receive feedback on what techniques worked. In addition, GEBHARDT gave nightly lectures on the benefits of proper nutrition, as well as demonstrating some methods he has found to supplement the body during training.

Canada's top athletes Alain BOLDUC and Junior David HAYES were happy to escape the cold and meet up with fellow Canadian Dominique VALLEE, who is training at BRR this winter with Beth WINKLER (USA) and Gul MENDES, who is hoping to represent Turkey in the Olympic Games. Ben BARGER (USA), and Farrah HALL (USA) who have been training together in St. Petersburg, Florida, were grateful for the chance to meet and train with other RS:X sailors. USA Juniors Jeremiah MALINA, Jimmy SOBECK, Laura JANSENN, and Lisa KRAMER were well supported by an incredible team of parents who took time to travel from as far as New England and Minnesota for the four day clinic.

It was a family style atmosphere at BRR as moms and dads made meals to share, sailors watched video, and exchanged sailing and training tips or techniques. Many will return to Florida for the upcoming ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR in January. All those interested in training at the Banana River resort should contact Beth WINKLER at Banariv@aol.com for future clinic dates and training options.

Ailsa Angus (As Amended By ISAF)
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