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Paige RAILEY (USA)Ever since the Laser Radial was selected as the women's one person dinghy equipment for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, Paige RAILEY has shown the world that she means business. At her first event in the nomination period she claimed the 2005 Laser Radial World Championship title in Brazil and went on to claim five more top spots at ISAF Graded events in 2006.

Silver at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR was swiftly followed by the North American title and victory at the Midwinters East. RAILEY then turned her attention to the European circuit and after a slow start in Palma de Mallorca, she won the gold medal in Hyères before travelling to Austria for the ISAF World Sailing Games where she picked up another gold medal.

After disappointing performances at the European and World Championships, RAILEY was undeterred and emphasised that the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition is her ultimate goal. The Qingdao International Regatta in China, the first test event for the next Olympic Games, was sewn up by RAILEY before the Medal Race. She continues to sit on top of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, a position she has held throughout the nomination period.

Image copyright of Jan Walker

ISAF World Sailing Ranking position at the end of the nomination period (2 August 2006) - 1

1st - Laser Radial World Championship 2005, Fortaleza, BRA - ISAF Grade W - Dec 2005
2nd - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA - ISAF Grade 1 - Jan 2006
1st - Laser Radial North American Championship, Fort Lauderdale, USA - ISAF Grade C1 - Feb 2006
1st - Laser Midwinters East, Florida, USA - ISAF Grade 1 - Feb 2006
8th - HRH Princess Sofia Trophy, Palma de Majorca, ESP - ISAF Grade 2 - Apr 2006
1st - Semaine Olympique Française, Hyères, FRA - ISAF Grade 1 - May 2006
1st - ISAF World Sailing Games, Neusiedl, AUT - ISAF Grade 2 - May 2006
18th - Laser Radial European Championship, Riccionne, ITA - ISAF Grade C1 - Jun 2006
1st - Qingdao International Regatta, Qingdao, CHN - ISAF Grade 2 - Aug 2006

Name: Paige RAILEY
Place of birth: Clearwater, Florida
Date of birth: May 15, 1987
Profession: Sailor
What inspired you to take up sailing? Our dentist told my mom about a Learn to Sail program at a local yacht club during the summer. My brother, Zach, immediately fell in love with sailing and started to compete. I was 5 years old at the time and I journeyed to all of the sailing regattas with him. When he would finish his day of racing I would sit in the bow of his Opti and he would sail me in. I fell in love with the sport while on the trips, but I had to wait until I was 8 to begin the program. I have been hooked ever since!
What was the first boat you sailed? Optimist at the age of 8
How did you buy your first boat and what was it? My first Optimist was an 8254, which I got it when I was 13 years old. Before then, I always received my brother's hand-me-downs, and I used the yacht club's training boats.
Name your first sailing club: Clearwater Yacht Club
What was the first event you competed in? Bruce Neubauer in 1995
What was the first event you won? Sail Fest in 1996
What are the main achievements/personal highlights of your sailing career? The first award I was really proud to receive was US SAILING's Female Athlete of the Year in 2002. Another major highlight was when I won the 2003 ISAF Youth Worlds in Madiera, Portugal.
What are you future sailing goals? I am currently training for and working towards winning a Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, China. In the future, I would like to continue my quest for Olympic Gold Medals, as well as become an America's Cup Sailor. In addition, I want to help make the sport of sailing more popular in the United States. My goal is to become a legend in sailing by setting a new standard in the sport for both females and males. I would like to inspire others to work hard and achieve their goals, like sports legends Michael JORDAN, Mia HAMN and Tiger WOODS and sailors Ben AINSLIE, Robert SCHEIDT, Paul CAYARD and Ed BAIRD.
What does sailing mean to you? Sailing is my true love. I don't call sailing my job; it's my life. I believe I was put here on earth for the purpose of sailing. Sailing is my skill and the activity I excel in most. I hope to be able to set new standards in the sport, inspire other athletes, and become a keystone in the sailing world. Sailing provides me with many things: happiness, peace, challenges, pain, motivation, self disclipine, and independence.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing career and why? Several people have made an impact on my sailing career, including Olivia CERAOLO, Tiger WOODS and my mom and dad. Olivia was a dear friend who died of cancer at the young age of 16. I watched her fight from the day she was diagnosed to the day cancer ended her life. She was one of the most strong and brave people I have ever met. She made me understand how important it is to treat every day as unique and precious. Tiger WOODS has inspired me as an athlete and confirmed some of my belief systems. Many people have told me I can't do this or that, or that I should look at things in a different way. One day, while watching an interview with Tiger, I realized he had the same views as me. Just to know that someone else shared my radical thoughts caused me to believe I was on the right track. Also, when I found myself in a sailing slump that I thought I would never get out of, my parents gave me incredible guidance. They shared their past experiences and the challenges they faced with starting their own business. Each of these figures have taught me separate things about life, believing in yourself, and how to pick yourself up when things aren't going well.
Who is your sailing hero? There have been many people who I have looked up to in the sport of sailing. But the most important lessons I learned was to look for inner motivation and to believe in myself. I felt that I didn't need a single person to hang on the wall or put on a pedestal to motivate me in sailing. I feel that inspiration and motivation should come from deep within the athlete and not someone else. I want to set my own standards and live up to my own goals and expectations
What other sports do you enjoy? I love to shop, dance and spend time with my friends. I also like to snorkel, fish, run, bike and ski (water and snow).
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2006 mean to you? This was a huge shock for me. To be nominated two years in a row is a true honor. I am very flattered that ISAF feels my accomplishments are worthy of such an esteemed nomination. I am a young sailor and to receive such high accolades from the sailing world is quite a privilege.
If you were voted as the winner, what would this mean to you? I would feel that all of my hard work and sacrifices that I have made are paying off. I feel that this would be a huge accomplishment in my life.
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