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Raul Lopez

RIO 2016 CAMPAIGN PROFILE

How old are you? (as of Sep 2015)
19

When did you start windsurfing?
I started windsurfing when I was 14 years old.

Where did you learn? Where is your training base now?
I learned to windsurf at the Miami Yacht Club with all the local kids, once I started I’ve never stopped.

When did you start dreaming about getting to the Olympics? Did anything in particular trigger it?
when I was young I always loved the Olympics and thought about how amazing it was for so many people in so many sports to come together to one place and compete at the top of their game! In 2013 the dream started to become true. Every day I wake up and realize how much more of a possibility it is to go to the Olympics. This is my daily motivation.

Is your Rio 2016 campaign a full-time commitment at this time?
While I train every day of the week, I am still continuing my education at Miami Dade college.

Are you placing other plans on hold because of it? What plans?
Yes, as I am taking some classes online I am not able to take a full set of courses due to the amount of time I train.

Could you describe a typical week these days?
A typical week nowadays I wake up before the sun and get a fitness activity in, mostly cardio. After my morning workouts I get a session windsurfing on the water. On the weekend my training is more endurance based.

Do you find time to relax?
Yes I get to relax, it’s not often that I have a whole day to lay around but when I have time I enjoy mini golf, surfing, and kitesurfing.

What book, movie, recording artist have you enjoyed recently?
I just recently finished watching a new Netflix original series, “Narcos” based on Pablo Escobar the Colombian drug lord who was trafficking drugs from Colombia to Miami, New York, and LA!

Are you on your own or is it a team effort?
This sport is not possible to do alone. My parents and family are my biggest supporters, and over the past years I’ve had the opportunity to work with several great coaches. For my physical training, I have been working with Mandy McLane and Shane Niemeyer (author of “The Hurt Artist”). My training partners and best friends are Maximo Nores, and Felix Toledo.

What aspect(s) of your sailing are you working on right now?
In my sailing I have been working extremely hard on improving my skills in all aspects, becoming a better sailor and windsurfer as a whole.

Can you describe a recent breakthrough?
Recently I have improved my fitness to a new level, using my fitness I am improving my windsurfing to new grounds I could not reach in the past years.

Who inspires you to keep pushing?
I have always had the dream to go to the Games and I have never had any problems training, at the same time I am still human and I have good and bad days, during these days my family is the most important to keep me going!

How are you paying for your campaign?
During my campaign my family and friends give me the most support, then I receive funding from the U.S. Sailing Team Sperry, and locally I am a team rider for Adventure Sports Miami.

Do you have a campaign website – how can supporters get in touch with you?
My website is www.lopezsails.com, and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Gofundme!

Besides the RS:X, What other class / type of windsurfing do you enjoy?
Besides RS:X I enjoy catamaran sailing and skiffs, recently I have the itch for foiling, which I believe will be the future of not only sailing but all water sports.

Where will we see you next in competition?
My next competition will be the Copa de Brazil in December, then SWC Miami (the first Olympic team qualifier).

What goes through your mind in the last minute before the start of a race?
In the last minute I will have already looked at the course and picked the direction I want to go, I focus on myself and there is always a quick flash of the hours of training I have put into being where I am. In the last seconds I pull in my sail pumping at a heart rate well over 180 beats per minute and go as fast as I can. I always remember a quote I saw when I sailed in the optimist class that said “sail fast, sail smart, and have fun”.

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