This segment of our Meet The Team series features Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan. For most Olympic Team members, the dream of standing on a podium watching the American flag raise to the highest point begins in childhood. For Clark, who became the youngest member of the national team at the age of 15 in 1994, that dream was fueled by a passion for competition. Clark is a 2008 Olympian, while this will be the first Games for Lihan.
Judging by their impressive performance at Sail For Gold, where the pair won an overall silver medal in the Women’s 470, it is time to get familiar with these US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider 470 teammates!
Who has been the most influential person in your sailing career and why?
Amanda Clark: My Father, Dennis, because he loves to sail.
Sarah Lihan: My parents, first and foremost, have been both my greatest cheerleaders and harshest critics, both of which are vital to any campaign. They’ve buoyed me up when I was down, but will never shy from expressing their opinions on my campaign decisions. Anna Tunnicliffe, as well, has been a huge influence on defining what campaigning really means, and what a solid program should look like. Also my college coach, Zack Leonard, is always there to screw my head back on and has deftly fielded even the most absurd of questions. In recent years, US Sailing has really stepped up their involvement in personal campaigns, which has also been quite helpful. At the end of the day, though, it is my competitors and friends that that help and motivate me to keep pushing, pushing, pushing, because if I’m not, they are, and they’ll gain the edge.
What would winning an Olympic Medal mean to you?
Amanda Clark: Everything! The journey has been amazing so far, I get goose bumps when I think of achieving my highest goal.
Sarah Lihan: Not only would it be the realization of years of dreaming, it would be the most incredible sensation of fulfillment–truly a life’s project complete.
What was your most memorable day of sailing in 2011 and why?
Amanda Clark: I have a couple, #1 The last day of Perth Worlds in Australia, December 17, 2011. The feeling of performing under incredible pressure to pass the boats we needed to to win the Olympic trials. #2 Winning the day at our 470 European championship in Helsinki Finland July 11, 2011. We finished with a 2-2. Since then we have never looked back.
What is your training regimen?
Amanda Clark: Four days a week in the gym weight lifting 2 hr sessions. Two days a week of cardio. Five days a week sailing.
What are your strengths?
Sarah Lihan: My greatest strength is probably my utter love of the sport. I love the water, I love the people, I love the feeling of bombing down a wave, the second before the bow drops, I love the buzz of anticipation before a windy start, I love the calculations on a light, shifty day.
What is the best part about traveling together?
Amanda Clark: We both are experienced travelers so we are relaxed when making plans and moving through airports. When at the venue we both enjoy exploring our surroundings and maybe even scouting around for a shopping opportunity!
What was the best advice you’ve received?
Amanda Clark: You CAN do this.
Sarah Lihan: Never give up. Simple, straightforward.
What was your first job?
Amanda Clark: Sailing coach.
Sarah Lihan: Coaching sailing.
What is your favorite international city?
Amanda Clark: Sanary Sur Mer, France.
Do you have any pets?
Amanda Clark: A Siamese cat named Monti.
Sarah Lihan: I wish I did.
What is your favorite food?
Sarah Lihan: Garlic and butter.
All photos Mick Anderson/US Sailing