Brighton’s Mike Ingham has a passion for sailing and coaching. As the coach for the U.S. Paralympic sailing team, Ingham will be in Rio next month for the Paralympic Games.
“I’ll be staying in the Village with the team and everything,” he said. “So it’s pretty exciting to be a part of all that.”
Ingham is able-bodied. His three man boat is not.
“So of the six possible legs, there’s three on the boat,” said Ingham. “And of those three, one works.”
Their differences disappear on the water. Life challenges overcome make Ingham’s job easier.
“They’re pretty darn tough,” Ingham said. “With that comes a lot of maturity and, as far as competitors go, it’s pretty hard to rattle somebody like that.”
For Ingham, the pursuit of gold is not new. He was a training partner for the silver medalist American team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
“I think the Olympics is a special forum that people are drawn to, whether you’re an athlete or not,” he said.
Expectations are high for the Paralympic Games. Team USA won the world championship last spring.
Ingham and the team have spent weeks training in Rio, preparing for their golden moment.
“I think right now the team I’m coaching is at the top of their game,” said Ingham. “If not the favorite, we’re certainly right in the hunt and it’s really fun to be part of a successful team.”
The Paralympic opening ceremony takes place September 7. Ingham and Team USA will compete from the 12 to the 17.