RIO DE JANEIRO (MEDIA GENERAL) — There are only a handful of Olympic sports in which men and women compete together. Among them is sailing’s Nacra 17 class, where Team USA is made up of Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee.
They’ve been sailing individually all their lives but have been teammates for only about four months.
“Honestly, we clicked right away. That’s been one of the keys our success,” Chafee told 24 Hour News 8 Sports Director Jack Doles in Rio. “If we hadn’t been able to click, it would have been a much harder road to Rio.”
On paper, they’re an unlikely pairing. Gulari, who grew up in the Detroit area, is the son of Turkish immigrants. Chafee is the daughter of former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, who also campaigned for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
Gulari and Louisa Chafee sailed together a total of 10 days before the Olympic trials. Despite their limited time together, they qualified. Since then, they’ve had four months to gel.
“It’s great,” Chafee said. “I love sailing with Bora.”
“I have a great crew,” Gulari agreed.
Four months isn’t much for an event the magnitude of the Olympics, but they aren’t about to use lack of experience as a crutch.
“We’ll be fine,” Gulari said.
Thee Nacra 17 medal race is scheduled for Aug. 16. Gulari and Chafee will have to make it through preliminary rounds this week to make the final.