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US Sailing Gold Medallist Nick Scandone - Sharing the Good

by Lynn Fitzpatrick on 3 Jan 2009
An elated Nick Scandone arrives home Lynn Fitzpatrick
He woke up, looked at his wife, Mary Kate, took his oxygen mask off, gave her a kiss and told her that he loved her. He put the oxygen mask back on and passed away.

Nick Scandone was clear and deliberate about a lot of things and one of them was that he did not want to be remembered for his declining state of health.

He wanted to be remembered for his accomplishments throughout his life. His last moments, however, sum it all up. Nick always seemed to do the right thing, especially when it came to family and friends.

For years he focused on a Gold Medal. It kept him alive. It gave many of us, especally his supporters at Balboa Yacht Club, a champion. Mary Kate was always his number one admirer and was with him through thick and thin.

Two of his most ardent supporters, his mother, who introduced him to sailing, and his sister passed away before seeing Nick achieve his dream. His bonds with his father and his brother, flourished as his physical state weakened and his resolve grew.

Nick's extended family expanded to a worldwide community of sailors and people who recognized him as a hero, a champion in life who looked death in the face everyday for six and a half years.

Before Nick left for the Paralympics he said that he was looking forward to returning home to peace and quiet and sharing his medal with his friend and family 'because in the end, they are what is important.'

His band of family, friends and coaches trailed his 500-pound wheelchair around the Olympic Village in Qingdao, China this summer and all of the other SKUD 18's , followed Nick and Maureen McKinnon Tucker around the race course.

Each day the duo distanced themselves from the rest of the fleet, mathematically winning the Gold Medal without needing to sail the last two races of the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Regatta.

Everyone routed for Nick; even his competitors. Unprecedented at any Medal Ceremony, all six SKUD 18 Medalists clasped hands and accepted applause from the crowd in unison.

Nick shared the ups with all and sheltered us from the downs. Nick Scandone did just what he set his mind to do. He won the Gold.

He shared his victory with friends, family and the rest of the world. He, Mary Kate, Vince (his brother) and Mike Pinckney (his coach) returned to Newport Beach, CA to a hero's welcome at the airport and at Balboa Yacht Club. Everywhere Nick went, whether it was to a Ducks hockey game, a UCI alumni even a sailing clinic - he was an inspiration and he shared his winning ways.

Nick Scandone

1988 Sabot National Champion
1988 Collegiate Nation Champion (UCI)
1988 Collegiat All American
1991 470 North American Champion
2004 Independence Cup Champion
2005 Independence Cup Champion
2005 2.4 Meter World Champion (Open Class)
2005 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year
2007 IFDS World Champion - SKUD 18
2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist - SKUD 18
2008 US Sailing Yachtsman of the Year Nominee

A friend, a sailor, an inspiration, a winner and a tremendous loss to all.

Melges IC37 2019 FooterRS Sailing 2019 - FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2

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