Paralympic sailing star Paul Tingley now coaching Olympic crew

Canadian Paralympic Committee

May 13, 2021

Five-time Paralympian helping team on road to Tokyo

Paul Tingley

(Photo: Tingley on right with 2016 Paralympic crew)

HALIFAX – Paul Tingley, a triple medallist at the Paralympic Games in sailing, has turned his attention to coaching the Canadian crew of Jacob Saunders and Oliver Bone towards the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo.

Tingley, Para sport coordinator with Sport Nova Scotia, was contacted to coach the Canadian veteran crew of Jacob Saunders and Oliver Bone in the 470 boat last summer after both sailors returned to competition after retiring from the sport. They qualified the boat at a regatta in Miami in 2019 and were nominated to the Canadian Olympic team by Sail Canada in March. 

‘’I had a good relationship with them already and time was short to the Olympics,” said Tingley, who retired after his fifth Paralympic Games in 2016 with three medals including gold in 2008.  

‘’It seemed like it was a natural fit that way. They needed someone to get them working better together. Get someone to get on the water with them, do the drills, give them the feedback, and also someone who was going to be positive.’’

Bone and Saunders are delighted with the results so far under Tingley.

‘’We are so lucky to have him, he was an obvious choice,” said Bone, who was out of the sport for nearly 10 years before returning to competitive waters. ‘’He is an exceptional sailor. He bring us an outside perspective that sometimes we might lose.’’

‘’It’s been awesome.’’

While he is not a certified coach, Tingley is recognized as a maestro in the sport. Saunders adds that Tingley’s winning attitude is contagious.

‘’Paul knows how to win,’’ he said. ‘’He’s mentally so strong and has a high level of motivation that it really rubs off on Oliver and me. That’s really important for us. We have experience, we’ve retired once from sport, and we’re juggling our work with sport. 

‘’Paul just brings a lot of fresh energy.’’

Tingley grew up in a sports-obsessed family, started sailing at age 10, and racing at 25. In 1994, a skiing accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. In 1998, a friend suggested he move to Victoria to sail with the disabled team and try out for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

When he raced at the Paralympics, Tingley raced in the keelboat.

‘’The 470 is a totally different boat and Jacob and Oliver are the experts especially when it comes to the set up,’’ Tingley said.

‘’But it’s hard to have a player-coach with this boat so they needed someone from the outside who really knows the dynamics of the sport.’’

For Saunders and Bone, they didn’t hesitate to contact the top person for that role.

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