Fort Lauderdale native Anna Weis and her teammate, Riley Gibbs, are about to set sail for the Tokyo Olympics.
“We’ve just been training hard leading up to Tokyo," said Anna Weis.
The dynamic duo will represent Team USA in the Nacra17 class sailing event in the upcoming Olympics. The catamaran can hit top speeds over 30 miles per hour, so this is no leisure sport.
“They go really fast and they are high performance boats. It’s a really cool dynamic with the mixed gender and it’s the only mixed gender class as of now for this Olympic quad," said Anna Weis.
The pair became a team in 2019, but Weis grew up sailing at the age of 8 in sunny Fort Lauderdale and Gibbs at the age of 5 in California. Both started dreaming big at a young age.
“Ever since I started sailing, I just loved being in the water," said Weis.
“This is my first Olympics. It’s been a dream since I was a young kid. I started sailing at the age of five, so this has definitely been on the bucket list," said Gibbs.
As they navigate the waters on their catamaran, Weis and Gibbs have also been navigating all the challenges of the pandemic.
“Not only has the pandemic side tracked us on our journey together, but we’ve been put off by a couple injuries. We’ve bounced back stronger each time, which has been pretty cool to see the resolve of the team. That's been amazing," said Gibbs.
“We had qualified back in February of 2020, and we were looking forward to the Olympics and then obviously they had gotten postponed so we kind of took a step back and looked at our training plan and we started back from the basics. So we’ve been working really hard on this extra year and we’re really fortunate to have it," said Weis.
The teammates couldn't travel internationally for a bit, but they were able to take advantage of an extra year with Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale as their training bases. As each month passes, the pair says the momentum for the Olympics is building.
“Here in Fort Lauderdale we get a lot of looks and cheers especially wearing the bibs and the USA flag on our sail so it’s really cool having people really getting behind us here," said Gibbs.
Both say they are now ready for the race to Tokyo.
“It’s an experience of a lifetime so I don’t think it will really set in until I’m there but I’m really excited to experience that. If we were to win a gold medal that’s the end goal but what really has been enjoyable is the whole process," said Weis.