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South Florida Olympic Sailor Lara Dallman-Weiss Shares Her Tokyo Games Experience

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Caeleb Dressel, Sydney McLaughlin and Suni Lee were standout gold medalists for the U.S. in the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Hundreds of others who gave it their all did not medal. And while a two-person women's sailing team from South Florida came back with no medals around their necks, it's their winning attitude that's everything.

CBS4's Lisa Petrillo caught up with U.S.A. Sailing Team member Lara Dallman-Weiss.

She showed off her Olympic 2020 credentials and the pins she traded with the new friends she made this summer in Tokyo.

Dallman-Weiss and her sailing partner Nikole Barnes, both from South Florida, competed in the women's two-person dinghy. They raced for six days.

"Each race is 45 minutes to an hour, and then we do two a day," she recalled. "So we're on the water maybe 4 to 5 hours."

"So you're not in a chair with the sail like I sail?" joked CBS4's Lisa Petrillo.

"Yeah, no, there's no wine and cheese," Dallman-Weiss said laughing.  "It's extremely physical. We work hard, but I love that part. "

Dallman-Weiss has been sailing since age 6 and partnered with Barnes, who's in the U.S. Coast Guard, just three years ago. They trained in Miami. And like everyone else, they were delayed going to the Olympics last year because of the pandemic. This year it was Game on.

"And so did you have the good winds you needed?" asked Petrillo.

"We had everything. There was a typhoon that came right when we got there, so it was crazy. But it's similar to Miami and that it's really hot. It made for a really tough sailing," she explained.

After six days of competition, they came in 12th out of 21.  It was not the ending they were looking for.

"It was tough at first. I think anyone who's been training for the games thinks results, results," she said.

"So at first you were disappointed?" asked Petrillo.

"Yes, when we crossed the finish line I was upset because you know we have shown that we can be at the very top of the fleet even though we're fairly new team together and that's what we wanted," responded Dallman-Weiss. "But I think just being there alone is an incredible accomplishment."

Due to COVID, no family was allowed, so the feeling of personal growth and new and lasting friendships were a big takeaway.

"So there's 10 different types of sailboats, so we had a team of 13," said Dallman-Weiss. "So we got really close because we were all in a bubble together. We couldn't go out to dinner or anything. We were just in the cafeteria together and yeah I think we all got really close."

Dallman-Weiss plans to continue working hard and hopes to be back in the boat for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

She credits her mom and her coaches for one piece of advice that gets her through everything.

"Positive self-talk, that will get you through anything. As an athlete you want to be black and white and grade your performance and how can you get better, but you have to be kind to yourself," she said.

Now that's a lesson we can all sail away with.

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