Joe Londrigan: Four season sports star

Published on March 23rd, 2014

Among the teams competing in the 2014 Farr 40 International Circuit will be Helmut Jahn’s 2012 World Champion Flash Gordon from Chicago. While people may also know Flash Gordon’s mainsail trimmer Joe Londrigan from his success in the Star class, where he was the 1993 World Champion, few likely realize that sailing might not even be his best sport.

Here is a report from The State Journal-Register of Springfield, IL…

It may be difficult to find an athletic resume more eclectic than that of 2014 Springfield Sports Hall of Fame inductee Joe Londrigan. The 1983 Griffin High School graduate was a nine-time letterman in swimming, track and football before going on to a world-class career in sailing.

“I don’t think you’ll find anyone with that combination,” Londrigan said. “Essentially, I had four seasons going.”

Swimming was his first sport. He started at age 6 at the YMCA and excelled. At 9, he started junior sailing classes at Lake Springfield. In junior high school at Chatham Glenwood he ran track for the first time, setting the state record and securing two state championships in the 880-yard run. He went on to set more records in high school. Londrigan also took his speed to the football field, where he played defensive back and running back.

“I would say I had some natural ability, but I think a large part of my success is those events was my work ethic and preparation,” he said. “I think it was a combination.”

Londrigan credits his drive to his father, Tom. “I think my dad was a primary motivator,” he said. “He would train me both in swimming and track. I was doing two-a-day workouts in swimming by the time I turned 9. In track, my workouts with my dad were probably two to three times harder than they were with the actual team.”

In the summer, Londrigan would compete alongside his father in sailing events. It was rare that a kid from the flat plains of central Illinois would have much of a career in the sport. That privilege was normally reserved for sailors in coastal regions. However, Londrigan saw that as a challenge.

“When I travel around, people will ask where I’m from,” he said. “I’ll tell them Lake Springfield, and they’re shocked. To go from a regional sailor in the Midwest to a world-class level was a huge jump. I really had to devote all my time to the sport. I probably spent more time training on the water than anybody.” – Read on

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