It wasn't too hard for Darien's Rob Crane to pinpoint the highlight of his sailing career.
"Making the Olympic team," Crane said.
It was a relatively easy pick for Crane given that he now has a chance to represent his entire country on the grandest stage of them all. Crane, who is preparing in London, is just days away from sailing at the highest of levels, as the 26-year-old is slated to race in the Laser (One Person Dinghy).
"When I won the Olympic trials it was very exciting," Crane said. "At first a bit surreal, but when it finally sunk in, it meant a lot."
And while participating in the Olympics is an accomplishment in and of itself, Crane will get his opportunity to make his mark when he competes from July 30 through Aug. 6. Crane is up against a tough field which includes Great Britain's Paul Goodison (Olympic gold medalist from four years ago), Australia's Tom Slingsby (ranked first in the world), New Zealand's Andrew Murdoch (world medalist), Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic and Brazil's Bruno Fontes.
As is the case with most Olympians, Crane never knew for sure whether he would don the USA red, white and blue, but he was determined to give it a shot immediately following college.
"It's hard to identify exactly when I felt that I had to talent necessary to make it," Crane said. "For me it was always something that maybe I could try to do as some point in life. I decided to give it a try after college."
Although he's from Darien, Crane attended Holderness High School in New Hampshire where he played soccer, hockey and lacrosse before graduating in 2005. A well-rounded athlete, Krane also enjoys skiing and golf in his spare time.
Following high school, Crane attended Hobart College in Geneva, NY where he continued to master his craft under the tutelage of coach Scott Ikle. During the recruiting process, Ilke was intrigued by Crane's multi-sport background, and it soon became apparent to the Hobart coach that no one would outwork Crane.
"Rob was a standout hockey and lacrosse player and he also played soccer. He had an interesting background that we found really appealing," Ilke said. "Rob is a fantastic role model for every kid that wants to do something. He believes in himself and he works hard."
Furthermore, Ilke believes that Crane's dedication to the sport is what set him apart from his peers.
"He worked really hard for four years to make this happen. He was an above average college sailor with a lot of potential," Ilke said. "He understands training, setting goals and work ethic, and I think that's an edge for him. To watch his level of progression was impressive."