Friends Come Rain, Shine...or Wind
By Máximo Pacheco, 18, and and Cristián Maluje, 12
Scholastic News Online Student Reporters, Chile


From left are Cristián Maluje, Francisco Lobos, and Máximo Pacheco of Chile during an interview with British sailing competitiors Nic Jones (Unified Partner) and Michael Kennett (Special Olympics Athlete).
June 28—Michael Kennet discovered that sailing is much more than taking care of the sail and the rudder. At the age of 25, he has been practicing sailing for four years and is participating in Special Olympics World Summer Games for the first time. He and his unified partner, Nic Jones, are one of the four crews representing Special Olympics Great Britain.

Unlike other sports, which are usually individually oriented, sailing requires teamwork. In this team, partner Nic, 29, controls the rudder of the Firefly. Michael takes care of the sail. Together, they navigate through Dublin Harbor, where the sailing competition takes place.

"Sailing takes great confidence between the crews," says Nic. "Since we're good friends, we trust in each other."

Michael shared his partner's view. One of the reasons he likes sailing so much is that he can share his time with Nic. "Sometimes I get a little scared when there is too much wind, but I feel secure because Nic is in the boat with me," Michael told Scholastic News Online.

Michael and Nic met each other during athletics training several years ago. They started to sail together when Michael was 21, after practicing football, basketball, tennis, and long jump together. After four years of hard training, Mike is proud of being part of these World Games in Ireland. Michael now feels secure, because he knows he has worked hard to get where he is.