SAN DIEGO — There are 15 finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame class of 2019 — and one of them is from San Diego.
“A lot of people don’t even know that sailing is part of the Olympics,” Mark Reynolds said. “It doesn’t get on TV much.”
Reynolds isn’t simply an Olympian or a gold medalist — he is a four-time Olympian, with one silver and two gold medals to his name. He’s also earned six medals at the international Star World Championship sailing event, two of which are gold.
On top of all his Olympic and world championship wins, Reynolds was also named the International Sailing Federation’s World Sailor of the Year in 2000.
Reynolds was born and raised in San Diego. “I don’t leave 92106 too often unless I go to the airport or fly somewhere,” Reynolds said. “I grew up in Point Loma. I went to Point Loma High School, San Diego State, I grew up at San Diego Yacht Club sailing from age 8 basically on — so this is my neighborhood. I still live within 2 miles of the Yacht Club and my work is a block from the Yacht Club.”
Reynolds learned sailing from his father, James Reynolds, who was also a world champion in Star and crewed with legendary sailor Dennis Conner. “It was something I wanted to do from a pretty young age, seeing my dad do it — and I finally got the chance,” Reynolds said. “My parents and my family went to all four of the Olympics that I competed in.” After competing, Reynolds continued to work as a coach for three Olympic teams.
Despite his accolades, Reynolds’ nomination to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame came as a bit of a shock. “It was a pretty big surprise. I think the last time was maybe six or seven years ago that they inducted people. I wasn’t really aware of it; I hadn’t thought about it recently. It gave me a chance to look at everybody that’s in there already. It’s a pretty good list of Olympians.”
The list of athletes who have been nominated will be narrowed down from 15 to 5. Reynolds is the only sailor on the list.
“There’s always next year too. I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Reynolds said. “It’s been a great opportunity for me to go around the world. I’ve been to just about every continent and have friends everywhere. Even if I hadn’t qualified for the Olympics, the journey was incredible.”
Reynolds will know whether or not he will be sailing into the Hall of Fame in about a month.