> US SAILING Media > Sailor of the Week > 2010 > Sailor of the Week - January, 2010 > Carolina Mantilla
Sailor of the Week: Jan. 7 - 13
The 2009 Junior Olympic sailing season went out with a splash at the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta held December 27-30 on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. A record breaking total of 722 junior sailors, between the ages of 8 and 21, participated in the season finale. All 722 energetic and enthusiastic young sailors did wonders for the sport by further demonstrating the continued growth and popularity of junior sailing in the U.S. The largest youth sailing regatta in the country has witnessed a steady increase in participation since it became a Junior Olympic program in 1998.
Everyone was a winner, including the Magnus Liljedahl Sportsmanship Award recipient, Carolina Mantilla. The 12-year-old from Miami proudly represented her home yacht club and Orange Bowl Regatta host, the Coral Reef Yacht Club (CRYC). Carolina, an Opti Green Fleet racer received the most nominations for consistently finishing every race with a never-give-up attitude.
“It was great to see so many sailors from so many countries,” said Carolina. “You feel like the whole world is around you.”
The award was established in 2000 in recognition of U.S. Olympic gold medalist, Magnus Liljedahl. He was impressed with Carolina’s sportsmanship and overall work ethic, “It is totally an act of sportsmanship. Never quit a race because it is not fair to your competitors and it is not fair to yourself.”
Carolina started sailing when she was three years old in her parents Benetau. More recently, she became actively involved in racing Optimist class sailboats last summer at the CRYC. Sailing has been an important element of her family’s life. Both parents, her grandfathers, two uncles, and a cousin have helped carry this love for sailing from one generation to the next.
“The award I received made me feel proud of myself,” added Carolina. “Getting the award makes me think I can do it.”