Tokyo makes third Olympics for Clearwater native hoping for gold

Japan 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla (WFLA) — This summer will mark the third time that Clearwater, Florida, native Paige Railey will compete in the Olympics with the US Sailing team.

Railey has won just about every medal in her career, and has just one left to say she’s done it all.
Railey has been sailing for more than 20 years.

“My family needed a day-care program in the summer while my parents were working so we went to the Learn to Sail program at the Sand Key Community Sailing Center and we fell in love with it. Being out on the water, out on a boat by ourselves, with no parents, was pretty much the coolest coolest thing an 8-year-old could be doing,” said Railey.

The summer games in Tokyo will be her third trip to the Olympics.

“That’s why I’m going to my third games, because I’ve won every metal you can win from World Championships, to Nationals, World Cup, all of them. The Olympic medal is the only metal I need to say I have done it in my career,” said Railey.

Railey qualified for Tokyo right before the pandemic shut the world down.

“It took about five to six months before I could actually get back into the boat,” said Railey, who used an at-home gym to train during that time.

Railey said she made the best of the pandemic and used the extra time to focus on her health and training.

She’s no stranger to rough seas, having battled health issues her entire life.

“They found I had an immune deficiency and an autoimmune disease,” said Railey. “This is why the Olympics are so special to me. I’ve started at rock bottom and I’ve worked my way back up and I think I’ve been trying to use this as inspiration for other people who have challenges.”

Railey is now training and competing internationally again, and currently in Portugal.

“It was like 14 months from the last international that I competed in,” she said.

Now Railey is ready for one of her biggest challenges yet, taking home the gold in Tokyo.

“We can all achieve the same dreams. Sometimes you have to do it a little different than the normal person would do it,” said Railey.

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