You might notice a few familiar faces when television coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, begins on Aug. 5, 2016.
Four former or current College of Charleston student-athletes – all sailors – will be taking part in the games. These athletes are representing teams from Peru, El Salvador, the United States and Guatemala. The sailing events begin on August 8, 2016.
College of Charleston Director of Sailing Greg Fisher says he is proud of the Cougars competing in the Olympics. But he is not surprised that they are competing at the highest levels of their sport, given the caliber of sailors that the College’s program attracts.
“Obviously, with their incredible talents, these individuals would have had a number of other options for college,” he says. “But their enthusiasm for the College of Charleston academics and the sailing opportunities here in Charleston helped seal the deal.”
Here’s a look at the CofC sailors competing in the Olympics this summer:
Stefano Peschiera, a junior at the College, is representing Peru’s sailing team in the Men’s Laser Class. He began sailing at the age of two and started racing at age eight.
Enrique Jose Arathoon, a senior originally from Guatemala, is representing the El Salvador sailing team in the Men’s Laser Class. An international business major, Arathoon says he is inspired by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history.
Paris Henken, a sophomore at the College, is representing the United States Sailing Team Sperry in the Women’s 49er FX Racing Class. At the 2015 Pan American Games, she finished third and took home the bronze medal.
Juan Maegli sailed for the College from 2008 to 2013. This is his third Olympics as a member of the Guatemalan Sailing Team. In the 2012 Olympics in London, he made the medal race and finished 9th. He was also the flag bearer for Guatemala in the opening ceremonies.
Fisher expects the group representing the College to have success on the water in Rio.
“We are all very hopeful that our Olympians have a shot at medaling in the 2016 games. They certainly have trained hard and with the right conditions, their chances are very real,” says Fisher. “They are some of the most disciplined sailors I have ever watched.”