2024 Paris Olympics

2024 Paris Olympics is worth the wait for Coronado Sailor

Hans Henken, 32, will represent Team USA in the Sailing Skiff competition

NBC Universal, Inc.

Decisions, decisions, decisions: it's what separates the best sailors in the world from the others and what Hans Henken has been battling off the water for the past decade while weighing his Olympic opportunity against his future career goals.

Henken kept his eyes on the Olympic prize and after not making the past two summer Olympic games, his quest finally paid off as he earned a spot on Team USA with partner Ian Barrows in the Skiff competition.

The sailing duo will steer a "49er" sailboat through the Mediterranean off the coast of Marseille in the 5-day competition which gets underway Sunday, August 28th.

Henken, who grew up sailing with the Coronado Yacht Club, moved to Coronado with his family in middle school.

He went on to attend Coronado High School where he refined his sailing skills and deepened his love for the sport. After high school, Henken attended Stanford University and earned a bachelor's and master's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

"I learned how to design airplane wings and a sailboat is basically an airplane with half an airplane wing sticking up off the boat," said Henken, who now lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Sailing requires elite agility, balance, and footwork, but Henken says it's his brain that has always helped him beat the competition.

"It's a decision-making sport, so it's how well you're able to make decisions in the heat of the moment," said Henken. "The ability to make a wrong decision and not let it impact your next decision is the key to sailboat racing."

He has often wondered where he would be in his engineering career by now if not for sailing, but with the wind at his back and a possible medal in front of him, Henken is feeling better than ever about his decision to stay on the Olympic course.

5 Things To Know About Hans Henken

  1. Learned to sail at 6 years old while living with his family in Dana Point
  2. Attended Coronado Middle School and Coronado High School
  3. Coronado Yacht Club member from 2000 - 2022
  4. Grew up wanting to become an astronaut
  5. An avid skier and surfer
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