Skip to main content

Winning Bronze and Gold at the Paralympics

Qingdao, ChinaAs released by US Sailing over the weekend: 2.4 mR sailor John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) added a Bronze Medal to the U.S. Paralympic Team’s medal count today, joining Gold Medalists Nick Scandone (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) on the podium at the 2008 Paralympic Regatta. Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Tim Angle
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Qingdao, China

As released by US Sailing over the weekend:


2.4 mR sailor John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) added a Bronze Medal to the U.S. Paralympic Team’s medal count today, joining Gold Medalists Nick Scandone (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) on the podium at the 2008 Paralympic Regatta. Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Tim Angle (Marblehead, Mass.) and Bill Donohue (Brick, N.J.) finished eighth in the competitive Sonar class.

Ruf scored two fourth place finishes today, securing a coveted bronze medal in the tight 2.4 mR fleet. Going into the final day of racing today, the top seven players of the fleet were all within single-digit points of each other. Surrounded by previous Paralympic medalists and world champions, first-time Paralympian Ruf sailed two solid races today and proved his talent by claiming his place on the podium. (France’s Damien Seguin was the defending gold medalist, Germany’s Heiker Kroger won a gold medal in 2000, and The Netherlands’ Thierry Schmitter won bronze in 2004.)

“He’s over the moon,” said Head Coach Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.). “He came into this as an underdog. For those of us who know Johnny, his work ethic and how hard he has been working to improve his speed, we are so proud.”


Ruf spent the last year training with Canada’s Paul Tingley, who won the gold medal, and his hard work paid off. Alison also credits his improvements to his coach, Marko Dahlberg (Ylojarvi, Finland), who, himself, is a 2.4 mR world champion. A year ago, Ruf finished tenth overall at the 2008 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship in Rochester, N.Y. “Since then, he has jumped to the forefront and onto the leader board,” said Alison. “It’s a fantastic achievement.”

Champions Scandone and McKinnon-Tucker clinched the gold medal in the SKUD-18 class yesterday with two races left in the series. While their substantial lead secured their medal yesterday, they decided to sail one race today to show their support for the rest of the fleet. They enjoyed the second race from the sidelines. “They showed great camaraderie and respect for their fellow competitors by sailing hard and sailing well,” said Alison.


Not only were they both first time Paralympians and first-time Paralympian gold medalists, McKinnon-Tucker entered the history books as the first female gold medalist in the history of the Paralympic Sailing Regatta. Their win was also the first time the U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team has won a gold medal. During tonight’s Medal and Closing Ceremonies in Qingdao, Scandone and McKinnon received a thunderous round of applause of appreciation from their fellow international competitors.

The Sonar team of Doerr, Angle and Donohue ended the regatta with a strong final race, in which they finished second behind Great Britain and way ahead of the rest of the fleet. After a tough first race, Alison advised the team to win the start of the next race, have fun and sail their hearts out -- and that they did. The breeze built over the course of the day, helping their boat speed. “They have heart and they have determination,” said Alison. “They came here to sail, and they gave it their all.”

“I’m proud of their work and effort preparing for this event over last couple years,” said Alison. “They’re all positive and smiling tonight, so I’m really happy for them.”

Throngs of spectators, sailors and support teams gathered for tonight’s medal ceremony, basked by idyllic pre-sunset light. “There’s so much energy that surrounds a prize giving, especially of this magnitude,” said Alison. “It was so exciting to see the sailors parade in behind the podiums.”

During the 2.4 mR medal presentation, Ruf grinned brightly while watching the American flag being raised. “His smile could have lit up the Empire State Building,” said Alison. When the national anthem played for teary-eyed Scandone and McKinnon-Tucker, the emotion felt by the entire U.S. Paralympic Team, who are all first time Paralympians, was palpable, said Alison.

“It was incredible to be able to experience it with them, especially because it’s been a long and hard road with the athletes,” said Alison. “It was a collective team effort, from families to coaches to support staff. Everyone who was there was part of that medal and victory today.”

The team will travel to Beijing to represent Sailing and Team USA at the Closing Ceremony on Wednesday, September 17.

Final Standings for U.S. Paralympic Sailors (For full results please visit ISAF’s web site: www.sailing.org/24859.php)

SKUD-18: 11 boats

1. Nick Scandone (Newport Beach, Calif., USA) and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass., USA), 2, 1, 1, 1, (3), 2, 1, 1, 2, (12 DNS); 11

2. Daniel Fitzgibbon and Rachael Cox, AUSTRALIA, (4), 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, (9), 3, 1, 2; 18

3. John Scott McRoberts and Stacie Louttit, CANADA, 3, 3, 3, 3, 1, 3, 2, (8), (4), 3; 21

Sonar: 14 boats

1. Jens Kroker, Robert Prem, Siegmund Mainka, GERMANY, 5, 6, 3, 1, 4, (11), 5, 2, (9), 4, 5; 35

2. Bruno Jourdren, Herve Larhant and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRANCE, 4, 1, 1, 2, (7), 1,(10), 5, 8, 7, (15 DNF); 36

3. Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Graeme Martin, AUSTRALIA, 8, 4, 2, 3, 3, 3, 1, (10), (15 OCS), 5, 7; 36

8. Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J., USA), Tim Angle (Marblehead, Mass., USA) and Bill Donohue (Brick, N.J., USA), 1, 9, 10, 6, (11), 10, 2, 3, 4, (11), 2; 47

2.4 mR: 16 boats

1. Paul Tingley, CANADA, 1, 1, 5, 2, (9), (9), 2, 4, 5, 1; 21

2. Damien Seguin, FRANCE, 4, 4, 3, 4, 5, (17 OCS), (11), 1, 1, 2; 25

3. John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis., USA), 2, 6, 1, (9), 1, 7, (10), 3; 29

Related

Rescue

Cruising: Safety Lessons Learned

It’s not often that sailors get a chance to put their rescue and MOB training to the test, rarer still that they do as quickly as newbie California sailor Khosrow “Koz” Khosravani did recently. If and when an emergency situation ever arises, though, it pays to be prepared. This ...read more

01-LEAD-'22.01.10_FALKEN-Maiden_Emma-Bow

At the Helm: Sailplans

The first thing you notice when you look at the sailplan for the Farr 65, Falken, which Mia and I recently added to the fleet here at 59-North, is the sheer number of headsails. Falken was built in 1999 as a racing boat to go around the world, and the crew would have carried the ...read more

01-PR-2-Throwing-it-Back-_©LaurensMorel

Racing Class Reunion

Where does an old VO70 go to retire? Right back to the racing circuit, apparently. This spring saw a remarkable contingent of Volvo Ocean Race one designs back on the water and duking it out on the Caribbean circuit. While it’s no surprise that some of the VO65 teams intending ...read more

05-Sailboats-moored-in-sheltered-waters-off-of-Kärrsön

Charter: Sweden

With 2,000 miles of coastline, 270,000 islands and seemingly countless bays and inlets, Sweden is truly a sailor’s paradise. One of the top sailing destinations here is the archipelago just outside the country’s second largest city Gothenburg (locally known as Göteborg), on the ...read more

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more