Many professional sailors in the big boat scene - the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race - learned their trade in the Olympic classes. But it’s not often you see the pro sailors come back later in their careers to compete on the Olympic scene, certainly not when they’re 62 years old.
But American pro Dee Smith has done exactly that. He’s competing in the 2.4mR Paralympic singlehanded keelboat. No one would have been more surprised than Smith himself if you had told him eight years ago that this is what he’d be doing in 2015. It was in 2007, during the America’s Cup in Valencia, that he first discovered that a long-term cancer had been residing in his body and gradually eating away at his spine.
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