Observations from the Olympic trail

Published on November 25th, 2020

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic and postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics occurred as countries were determining their representatives, and while the US Team was nearly confirmed in the ten Olympic sailing events, their representatives in the Women’s Two Person Dinghy (470) remained too close to call.

With three teams nearly even, and COVID-19 cancelling the what was to be the final qualifier in March 2020, the target now is the 2021 470 World Championship on March 5-13 in Vilamoura, Portugal. From this event, each team’s result is added to their current score to select the Tokyo representative. One team advances, the other two go home.

One of the teams in the hunt is Nikki Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss, and much like every aspiring Olympian, they are both immensely interesting people. In this report by Lara, she offers observations from the trail:

I heard recently that as technology is evolving, humans are devolving. This sounded true to me but I’ve been so curious to learn how and why. In the world of Olympic sailing, I notice how heavily my peers rely on peripheral devices to tell them how they feel and in turn they use this outside data to design a training schedule.

This makes no sense to me and I am forever grateful for my strength coach who makes training adjustments based off of how I walk in that day and tailors my lifts off of RPE (rate of perceived exertion) instead of forcing a personal best each day.

Lara Dallman-Weiss

I do wear a device to keep track of my calories, sleep quality, heart rate, and distances traveled, but the most accurate gauge in my opinion is the ability to detach from outside influences and connect the mind and body to have an acute personal awareness.

What fascinates me is learning about topics like how poorly humans breathe, why we need braces, how having furniture has changed our posture and limits the full range of movement we are intended to have, and how our lack of chewing has changed the shape of our jaws (which leads to other facial changes including smaller sinuses).

Having a greater goal that forces me to think outside of the box to do whatever it takes to become the strongest and best version of myself is why I am so curious about all of the above!

Sailing update: Nikki, Robby (coach Robby Bisi) and I are in Lanzarote, Canary Islands for the winter! We spent a lot of hours going back and forth in Miami deciding whether to pack up and head for Europe or stay “safe” at home.

Since arriving in Spain we haven’t looked back, the federation here and other 470 teams have been beyond accommodating and the training format is filling the void we missed by not racing all year. This is crucial to keep climbing the ladder as a team!

On top of all of the great training races the rockstar coaches put on, we just finished the first official regatta we have had since February and the hosts were fantastic; it was pleasantly unexpected to be treated so well on a small island in a world where most activities are shut down.

Life here is beautiful and simple, there is no big city light pollution or sounds of cars honking and my favorite part is of course the flying fish we see every day.

The island is volcanic and it’s amazing to notice how dry the center feels and the complete opposite on the other side. Locals seem to live a simple life filled with fresh food, surfing, star gazing and the daily siesta.

Keep learning, keep loving, and stay kind!

Tokyo Olympic Sailing Program – USA Team
Charlie Buckingham – Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Paige Railey – Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Stu McNay/David Hughes – Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Not Final – Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Nevin Snow/Dane Wilson – Men’s Skiff – 49er*
Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea – Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Luke Muller – Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Pedro Pascual – Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Farrah Hall – Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Riley Gibbs/Anna Weis – Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
* USA has not yet earned entry but is first on reserve list if a qualified country does not accept their slot for Tokyo 2020.

Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021

Details: https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/schedule/olympic/

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