CPS students set sail with Olympians

CHICAGO The outing introduced many Chicago Public Schools students to sailing by pairing them up with sailors who will participate this weekend in a world class yachting competition here in Chicago.

"For sure we're on the world stage this week," said Andy Beadsworth, Olympic sailor.

Beadsworth, who made his name at the Sydney and Atlanta Games, is one of the Olympic sailors and other pros in the port who took time out to show students at Chicago's Rickover Naval Academy the ropes on their $70,000 sailboats.

: "I hope I don't fall off because I really don't know how to swim!" said Edward Ocana, Rickover Naval Academy.

"(My) biggest fear is falling in the water," said Ashley Ayala, who knows she has to get over it because she wants to be in the Navy. "I'll try."

Ayala overcame her fear- and marveled at seeing the city skyline from a new vantage point.

"I'm used to the big city, cars everywhere. I'm not used to this sailing but you gotta love it," said Sterline Meisels, Rickover Naval Academy.

Sailing is one of four sports -- including wrestling, boxing and badminton -- that will get a new push through programs in the park district and public schools as Chicago tries to develop enthusiasm for Olympic sports in its quest for the 2016 Olympic Games. Developing strong legacy programs is essential for the city to pickup support from members of the International Olympic Committee.

IOC President Jacque Rogge was himself an Olympic sailor.

"They want to feel their movement has an impact on us and we become part of that. A big part of that is encouraging youth programs in the city," said Bill Scherr, World Sport Chicago.

"It's probably not everyone first venue but at the end of the day if you have facilities and weather conditions, that's all you need," said Beadsworth.

That-- and for the pro's to leave positive reviews in their wake on Lake Michigan.

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