Note from Athens

Ventura, California, sailor Kevin Hall has been in Athens since June, preparing to race in the Finn class at the Olympic Regatta. The first race for Finns is on August 14. After competing in the 2002 Louis Vuitton Cup as OneWorld Challenge’s navigator, Hall started training in the Finn less than a year before the Olympic Trials. He rose to the top of the class in short order, and this month we’ll see how he measures up against a very strong European fleet, led by Finn world champ and two-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie.

Hall, writing from Athens, shares his thoughts on a number of Olympic topics, including his bureaucratic battle with the IOC, Finn competition, Athens heat, and coping with five-ring fever. Read on below the Sponsored Links.

Daily routine: Until this week I was going to the gym in every other morning and sailing for several hours between 0900 and 1500, depending on the weather and my goals for the day. At night I review video, eat, maybe watch a rented movie (you can tell the popular ones here, they are always scratched and skip at the denouement!!), and I just finished saving the world in my video game Deus Ex.

His medical distraction: [Ed. note: Much of Hall’s Olympic campaign has been marred by a conflict over his use of testosterone injections, which he needs after surviving testicular cancer in the early 1990s. Last month, after experiencing a lengthy bureaucratic procedure with the IOC, Hall was given a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and cleared for Olympic competition.]

The TUE requirements (getting blood tests multiple times a week, organizing and double-checking paperwork, having to have a doctor give me my shot) have taken up a lot of what would have been “spare time”. That said, I was doing all this during my training in Florida before the Trials, so it has actually been part of my routine for many months already. I’m grateful that I have had nearly a month since the final “it should be fine” (subject to one more IOC review) came through. I had prepared for it emotionally to be going on right up to the opening ceremonies.

Racing equipment: We selected my mast and sails for the Games in mid-July. During the last week my coach James Lyne was here, we focused on downwind sailing, and I did about a week of boathandling drills after he left. I moved to the Olympic Village after getting my equipment into the venue and enjoyed a few days away from it all.