US sailor Morgan Reeser, a 470 Olympic silver medallist in Barcelona 1992 gave an inspiring talk to over 50 young sailors, their instructors and a few parents at Sutton Dinghy Club on Thursday morning.
Morgans son Nicolas has been a regular attendee at courses in Sutton the last 2 summers while on holidays in the locality. This week Morgan has been sailing in Sutton Creek with Nicolas and some of the other trainees.
Morgan is a full-time sailing coach and has successfully coached the Greek 470 womens team to Olympic Gold in Athens 2004 and the GBR 470 men to Olympic Silver in London 2012. He is currently coaching both the US and Austrian Olympic 470 hopefuls and is heading to Greece in the coming days to meet up with his trainees.
Morgan talked to the juniors about his first ‘start sailing’ course in Miami in an Optimist, some of his sailing heroes and the coaches that inspired him. He remembered his first visit to Dublin in 1981 for an inter-country team racing event sailed in Shamrock half-tonners in Dun Laoghaire and obviously about his preparation for the ‘Games’ in Barcelona in 1992.
His abiding memory of the final race of the regatta, after finishing in a tight bunch and he and his crew Kevin Burnham didn’t find out till they reached the marina 40 mins later that they had won a medal.
He outlined the fine margins between medaling and not at events, explaining they would have been out of the medals altogether if they had dropped a single place in their best race at the regatta, which happened to be a race win.
Morgan was back at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and while he failed to take a medal, he met his future wife, none other than Irish Olympic 470 sailor Louise Cole.
The winning of an Olympic medal is obviously a fantastic memory for Morgan, but one of his best memories is of the opening ceremony in Barcelona and the opportunity to meet up with world class athletes from around the world. Since turning to coaching Morgan has encouraged his Olympic hopefuls to attend the opening ceremony as this is one of the things that make it the ‘Games’ and not just another regatta. I gather the GBR management team were not best pleased that Morgans charges Stu Bithell & Luke Patience insisted in attending the opening ceremony up in London.
Sutton Dinghy Club Commodore, Andy Johnston presented Morgan with a Club burgee and thanked him for taking the time drop in and talk with the Clubs young sailors and their instructors. sed his charges Stu Bithell and Luke Patience insisted in attending the opening ceremony in London!!
Before getting back on the water, many of the kids availed of the opportunity to get the autograph of a fully fledged Olympic medalist. A memorable day for the young sailors, indeed for all in attendance.