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Stu McNay: Hoping Third Time is a Charm

Published on August 2nd, 2016


Stu McNay

American Stu McNay admits to owning a very different perspective as he packs for his third Olympiad.

Eight years ago, McNay was expectedly thrilled just to be on the U.S. Sailing Olympic team in Beijing. Four years ago McNay and partner Graham Biehl were back at the games in London but once again couldn’t make much of a mark in the men’s 470 two-person dinghy class.

Now 34 years old, McNay has a new partner in Dave Hughes and a fresh outlook as he packed his bags for Rio this week. Ranked fifth in the world and coming off wins in both the World Cup and North American Championships in the last six months, McNay intends on being a factor next month.

“In a truly objective stance, I’d say we are a contender for a medal,” McNay said. “In the last two Olympics I wouldn’t say that. Dave Hughes and I have blended really well. Together we’ve elevated our games to a higher level.”

A native of Newton, MA, McNay made Providence, RI his home base in 2013 when his wife, Tanya Tran McNay, came to Brown for a fellowship in psychology. She’s now on staff at Rhode Island Hospital and last July they welcomed daughter Alexandra to their team.

“We love Providence,” McNay said, “but truth be told I’m home about four-to-eight days a month. As much as the travel is hard on me, it’s very hard on my family. It’s a joy to be home and watch my daughter grow, but I do miss a lot of moments. Being an Olympic-level sailor takes extreme and unconditional support from my wife and our family.”

McNay has spent significant time training in Rio de Janeiro’s controversial Guanabara Bay. While scouting the unique winds and current, McNay and the world’s best sailors have also encountered hazardous water quality. “The race conditions in Rio are unique to Rio,” McNay said. “I feel for the Brazilian people with that water quality but these races will go on as planned.”

McNay says he receives financial support to train for the Games not only from the U.S. Olympic Committee but family friends and other individuals who believe in the sport.

“This is my third Olympics and the support we receive is vital,” he said. “These are the best sailors in the world and winning a medal is a challenge of a lifetime but one that I really feel is possible.”

Source: Providence Journal

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