A Conversation with Olympic Hopeful Ravi Parent

A Conversation with Olympic Hopeful Ravi Parent

Ravi Parent (middle) with the 2021 Foiling Camp trainees

Nacra 17 Olympic hopeful Ravi Parent stopped by the office recently to update us on his progress towards the 2024 Olympics (and beyond). Ravi has recently partnered with Oakcliff graduate Sarah Stone for his next quad, as well as began working a part-time job in his field, mechanical engineering. Ravi’s story fits perfectly with our vision of the Olympic Helix pathway, which is a structured alternative to the current American way of campaigning. He talked to us about his effort to combine work with campaigning full time: 

Lexi: Tell us a little bit about your journey to the Olympics so far.

Ravi: I’ve been campaigning for three years now. I started after graduating college in 2018, and I was full time doing only Nacra 17 sailing for those two years up to the 2020 trials. We ended up not qualifying for 2020, but we had a strong push leading up to the trials and we figured we’d focus on that goal and figure out the future later. Once that came and went, I decided to get a part time job in my field doing engineering work for Morelli & Melvin. With that, I’ve been figuring out a way to campaign full time and still have a part time job. I have been able to continue to sail my full olympic class schedule, including time for Worlds in Oman in November. I’m figuring out how to mix different parts of life and still pursue the Olympic dream.

L: Do you think it’s been helpful to have a “real world” job in conjunction with your Olympic experience?

When it comes down to it, it’s just really nice to have a steady income to be able to cover basic living expenses like rent. We live in a country where we don’t get the full government funding, so we have to forge our own way. Of course we get a lot of support from donors and places like Oakcliff, but that doesn’t cover everything, and at the end of the day we need to be able to put a roof over our heads. Having a part time job also gives my life a lot of much-needed structure, which helps me focus on how to budget my time and schedule my life. 

L: Would this be something that you would suggest to other Olympic hopefuls? 

R: I think it’s good for all campaigning athletes to think about what they want to do with their career in the future. A lot of people who are just starting their campaigns are younger and solely focused on sailing; they don’t feel like they need to plan for beyond their campaigns at the given moment. Some people want to pursue professional sailing, some want to look at other career paths using degrees or other trade skills. It’s good to have an idea of where you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years and start to make little teos towards those goals. Maybe it’s campaigning for four or five years, maybe it’s two quads, maybe it’s five, but it’s good to have a plan for after that. For me, it’s trying to enter the pro sailing world but also trying to mix my engineering degree in there as well. 

L: So you were able to find part time work using your degree in Mechanical Engineering – How were you able to make this arrangement with your employer? 

R:I’d say im pretty fortune to work for a company that designs sail and power boats, so there’s that bit of flexibility. When I applied for the job, the first thing I did was make sure they know that as the Olympic Quad ramps up, I’m going to be tapering my hours and focusing on my campaign. You need to be up front and clear with your communication when you go for these types of positions. 

Ravi is proof that it is possible to fund Olympic dreams without a trust fund or government assistance. If you’re a campaigning Olympian and need part time work, Oakcliff has tons of jobs we need done! From part time yard work and labor to data entry, there is something for everyone. With our seasonal schedule, we can accomodate the needs of full-time pro sailors. Contact Executive Director Dawn Riley at race@oakcliffsailing.org for more information.