Florence Allan rigs up for Olympic debut

By Jade Webster, CIOC Press Representative

Most high school graduates are busy enjoying their summer holidays, but 18-year-old Florence Allan is preparing for her sailing event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Allan is the first athlete in 16 years to represent the Cayman Islands in sailing at the Olympics.

IMG_2536“It’s really difficult to know what to expect here because the bay is such a challenging place to sail. It could be windy, it could be light winds, there could be lots of current, there could be none. It’s really difficult to predict that so I’m just trying to keep an open mind and just be ready for anything come Monday afternoon.”

Allan and her coach, Raphael Harvey travel more than one hour each day to the Olympic Sailing venue, Maria de Gloria to train for a 2 to 3 hours at a time.

“I usually wake up, well it changes each day depending on when we have to be rigged and ready by. Some mornings I might go to the gym or I might just eat breakfast then we get on the bus take the one-hour bus ride and go straight to the marina. We try and team up with a couple of people, typically it’s with my friends from Bermuda or St. Lucia. If we can get onto a bigger group of people usually it’s better for us to make it the same as what it would be in a race. We train with them for a few hours. We come back to the village, eat dinner and go to bed, that’s pretty much been every day since we’ve been here which is pretty boring, but I guess that’s what it takes.”

IMG_2351Allan will be sailing amongst 37 athletes from around the world in the woman’s Laser Radial running August 8-13.

Unfortunately, pollution fears have tarnished Rio’s picturesque bay ahead of Games, as media reports state doctors and/or health organizations have advised sailors and other water based athletes to keep their mouths shut during competition. Between Allan’s training trip in July and this week Allan has sailed in Guanabara Bay for three weeks, she has been submerged and has not had any issues or concerns.

Before race day, Allan along with Team Cayman have to face a ceremony unlike any other, the Olympic opening ceremony.

“[It’s] really scary to think the whole world will be watching us. I guess here in the village it’s like being in a bubble you don’t really get to see too much outside, your just in the event areas and you are shut off from the rest of the world but knowing that there is going to be people from literally the entire world watching the opening ceremony it’s kind of scary but it’s really exciting as well and it just make me appreciate how incredible these Games are and how far they reach across the world.”

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