What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Published on April 1st, 2019

Joe Morris

Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris met in 2008 while attending Yale University and would later team up in 2012 to launch an Olympic campaign to represent the USA in the 49er event at the Rio 2016 Games. Their campaign was a struggle but they persevered to earn the bid. Joe reflects on the experience:

One of my strongest memories was in Palma, it was our second time in Europe as a team but our first real long stint, and we really had to basically scrap every penny together to get here. One day we got off the water after training and our little Fiat 500 that we had rented had the window smashed.

My backpack was stolen, Thomas had some gear stolen, all of our videos from training at home were gone, and at that point it was hard to imagine how we were going to fight this uphill battle for another two and a half years.

But we were good teammates and we rallied around each other and got through it. Instances like that became the experiences which make you want to get up every day and try to win an Olympic medal.

It is so important to enjoy the process. I’d say having fun is tied as the most important element with getting better. You are not going to get much better if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, but there are times when you need to suffer a little bit. It’s not always going to be that much fun but it’s those hours that you put in that make the difference in the end of a four year campaign.

One of the things that keeps you going in the hard times is knowing that you have people that support you and that are with you on this journey just as much as your coach or members on the US Sailing Team. These are the people at home that have donated to the campaign, your sponsors, or really anyone that sends you an email to wish you luck and offer their praise. You are doing it for them just as much as yourself.


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