When 25-year-old Paige Railey walks into the Olympic Games this year, her older brother Zach will be right by her side; the two of them have dreamed about being on the Olympic Team together since they were kids racing together in their home town, Clearwater, Florida. The two have been competing together for as long as they can remember. They consider themselves a team and are thrilled to be able to support each other at the Games in Weymouth, England this year.
In 2006, Railey was named Female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, one of the highest honors in the sailing community. Unfortunately, in 2007, at the Olympic Trials, Railey was unable to beat out a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. She took the next few years to study at the University of South Florida and focus on being a part of the 2012 Olympic Team. She graduated USF in 2010 with a degree in Business Management.
After competing in 2011 and 2012 in various qualifying regattas, or races, Railey found herself qualifying for the Laser Radial Class spot on the U. S Olympic Team. The hard work paid off, and on July 30, 2012 Railey will begin her race to win a medal in the Laser Radial Class and aim to stand on that Olympic podium with her brother Zach, also a member of the U.S. Sailing Team.
Paige’s Previous Titles:
2006 Female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year
2011 Bronze Medal ISAF Worlds
2003 ISAF Youth World Champion
College Lifestyles: How’d you get started?
Paige Railey: I started sailing because my older brother (Zach) was told about it by our family dentist. My parents needed a day care program, so he entered. Three years later, I joined and fell in love with it the first day I was in the boat.
CL: How has having your brother by your side all these years helped you in your journey?
PR: Zach and I are extremely close. He is my best friend so I am able to confide in him at all times. I learned that family is forever so I can always rely on my brother for support and guidance. He is a comfort zone for me and it’s always nice to come off the water and see a familiar face.
CL: Where did you go to school? How did you balance that?
PR: I went to school at the University of South Florida. I worked extremely hard in school. I am extremely passionate about my sport and knew that I had a very small window to complete my schooling. I enrolled in 6 classes a semester and did spring summer and fall without stopping.
CL: What advice can you give to student athletes?
PR: Education is very important. I believe you should study and get good grades, but also dedicate yourself to your sport. I believe it is very important to have an education because it gives you something to fall back on. I highly advise to enjoy your degree and then, when you have time, do your sport.
CL: How do you balance a life outside of sailing?
PR:It is very difficult. You have to be diligent at maintaining friends, family and extracurricular activities. Honestly, right now life is very one sided
with the main focus being the Games. I accepted that in January of 2012. But, what helps with the balance is keeping in check why I do this: Because I LOVE IT.
CL: What is the hardest part about your job?
PR: I would say sacrificing the regular life. I travel a lot and I miss home, my family and friends. I do embark on new adventures all the time, so it evens it out. I work 12 hour days and I barely get any time off. Since January 14 I have had 20 days off. It gets tiring, but I love this sport so much. I am sailing, and sailing is me.
CL: What is a day in the life of you, an Olympic Sailor, like?
PR: Lots of training(hyperlink to how to train like an Olympian!) LOL. Depending on how much wind there is I can do up to three sessions a day. One cardio, a sail then a weight lift at night. Currently, my whole life is based around sailing, competing and improving my mental state for the Games.
CL: What are you going to do after the Olympics?
PR: I’m going to start competing in triathlons and take a long needed break!
You can keep up with Paige and her journey on Twitter! @PaigeSailor
What Olympic Sport are you going to be following this summer?