In this edition of the Meet the Team series, we introduce readers to 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey. This Clearwater, Florida native is about to compete in his second Olympic Games in the Finn class. Zach, who is the 2012 Team Captain, explains what it means to compete for Team USA and why the 2012 Games will be a family affair.
How and when did you first get involved in sailing?
When I was eight years old our family dentist suggested it to us. Our parents don’t sail and they thought it was a good idea.
What motivates you to pursue an Olympic sailing campaign?
Representing your country on the world’s biggest athletic stage and knowing you are there to represent your country and bring home a medal is a lot of pressure, but something I dream about everyday! Each day I wake up and work toward that goal. I have that visual in my head of standing on the podium again knowing that I had done what we had set out to do for the USA.
What would winning an Olympic medal mean to you?
It would mean that all the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of not just me, but so many others, had paid off! I sail an individual boat, but it is far from an individual effort and we could collectively celebrate in the achievement. There is so much meaning wrapped up inside a medal when I look at an Olympic medal. I don’t see the medal itself but look back on the sacrifice it took to win it not only from myself but of others who helped me get there. It is a special achievement and to do it again would be incredible.
How have you filled your time since Sail for Gold?
We’ve had a plan laid out for four years. We are at the end of that plan now. I’ve taken a little bit of time off (since Sail for Gold), but spent two weeks training in Weymouth. We are in the home stretch and feel really good about where we’re at. The things we have worked on and the corrections we’ve made, we’re going to be a serious contender.
Is it more meaningful to have your sister Paige at the Games this time?
With Paige and me qualifying it’s a huge moment for both of us. It’s hard to put it into words. It’s a lifelong dream to go to the Olympic Games again and to do it with my sister is very exciting. Last time was incredibly disappointing for both of us. It was exhilarating for me and incredibly heartbreaking for her. It would mean a lot if we can be successful in 2012.
What are you known for on and off the water?
I am hard headed and very determined toward reaching my goals, but know when to have fun and when to turn it on to reach those goals.
What other non-sailing interests or hobbies do you have?
Anything to do with the water: Fishing, scuba diving, water skiing, going to the beach, days on the boat.