Wright is an Olympic sailor, and he is a Westmount native. He just returned from London where he competed in the men’s Laser regatta ― a six-day, eleven-race event which pitted 49 of the best sailors in the world against one another.
Wright became a spectator on the last day of racing ― only the ten fastest athletes advanced to the final.
“The outcome was disappointing,” said Wright, who finished 23rd overall. “But the experience was fantastic. You’re surrounded by people in the prime of their lives doing what they love to do. How much better can it get?”
Wright may not have sunk his teeth in an Olympic medal, but competing in the Laser regatta is itself an achievement; countries can only send one athlete per sailing event. Wright treasured the maple leaf on his sail.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m a proud Canadian. It feels terrific to be the country’s representative. But it comes with responsibility. You also want to do a good job of representing everyone who has supported you the whole way.”
Growing up in Westmount
Today, David Wright lives in Ontario, but he spent most of his youth and adolescence in Westmount. “I grew up sailing at the Hudson yacht club,” he said. “I started a normal youth sailing program, and it’s progressed from there.”
Alongside his father, Wright competed in races at the yacht club when he was six. He steered the boat, while his father trimmed the sail ― adjusting its angle with reference to the wind. And he’s been Laser sailing ever since.
The Laser is a Canadian-built, 13-foot boat with one main sail.
From July 30 to August 4, Wright and his competitors raced the Laser on the windy waters of Weymouth, a small seaside town 200 kilometers southwest of London.
With sailing, unlike most other Olympic sports, athletes must alter their technique in relation to the weather. Unrelenting, moderate winds hurt Wright’s performance. He generally excels in calmer conditions.
“Different weather conditions reward different skills,” he said. “One type of weather condition prevailed throughout the seven days that we raced. Sometimes you may prepare yourself in such a way that would make you extremely competitive in one condition, and not as competitive in another. You do that at your own peril. And we probably did that a little bit.”
"I grew up sailing at the Hudson yacht club!" - David Wright
Wright’s coach Erik Stibbe lauded his level of training in the last four years ― countless hours on his bike, in the gym, and on the water ― and especially since his selection as the Canadian representative at the end of January of this year.
“At the end of the event he was gutted, as can be expected,” said Stibbe. “This result did not reflect his abilities as a sailor and dedicated athlete, and that makes it even harder to come to terms with at the end of the day.”
Today, Wright hopes he can right the ship and find success in the future. His sight is already set on Rio de Janeiro for the next summer Olympics.