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Top Women Athletes Take to the OB Harbor Waters

Top women athletes tested their mettle under America’s best female sailor on Tuesday, Sept. 18. “We will be involved in team building with the Women’s Sports Foundation staff. This is the type of team building and corporate training that we provide for businesses and organizations,” said Oakcliff Sailing Center Executive Director Dawn Riley. She is the first woman to have an active role in a winning America’s Cup team and former president of the Women’s Sports Foundation - she opened their doors and sails for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s top-tier athletes.

Ms. Riley has high hopes for Oyster Bay becoming the epicenter of yacht racing. She is training and coaching the next America’s Cup racers in her new business which trains people to work in the boating business, she said at a members’ meeting of the Main Street Association earlier this year.

“The skills we teach are very relevant to any small business,” she said. “In trimming sails you have to be very flexible and adaptable. There’s a wind shift and you have to be ready for it.” Oyster Bay Harbor can be a challenge to sailors as the winds are known to change frequently. Ms. Riley said that makes for a good teaching experience for her students,

She said for the past three years Hunt Lawrence, the force behind the OSC, has been collecting boats for the program – he now has a fleet of boats, ready to go.

The Women’s Sports Foundation works across the country to improve the health of girls and to keep girls involved in physical activity. They get girls moving not through direct service, but by supporting programs and organizations that work with girls. One of their programs is GoGirlGo! which identifies and weaves together quality resources within each community and provides comprehensive support through education, funding, public awareness and networking.

In 2000 the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Board of Trustees met to review the impact of their work. The team was celebrating the research that revealed how far they had come; when the Foundation was created, one in 27 girls was physically active. Thirty years later the statistics reported that one in three girls was physically active.

Research has proven that girls and women who are physically active, regardless of their level or ability, have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression.

Some of the athletes scheduled to be at the helm were:

• Kym Hampton, Basketball - WNBA champion, WNBA All-Star, two-time NCAA All-American, not to mention WNBA New York Liberty top draft pick in the league’s inaugural year, model and actress, and former Women’s Sports Foundation President.

• Camille Duvall-Hero, Waterskiing - Five-time World Champion, 15-time national champion, holds 14 US National titles and five US overall titles, four-time Master’s Slalom champion, seven-time Tournament of Champions Slalom champion, named one of the 100 Greatest Athletes of the Century by Sports Illustrated, Water Ski Hall of Fame member, and former Women’s Sports Foundation Trustee.

• Wendy Hilliard, Gymnastics - Nine-time US national team member, two-time co-captain, USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame member, and former Women’s Sports Foundation president.

• Kristen Kjellman, Lacrosse - Gold medalist and All-World Team Midfielder in the 2009 World Cup, five-year member of the US National Elite team, two-time Tewaaraton Trophy winner, three-time Honda-Broderick Award recipient for Lacrosse, and two-time WSF Sportswoman of the Year finalist.