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Bob Willis

WINDSURFING

Bob Willis started out sailing at age 7, and sailed at Connecticut College. But his passion is windsurfing, and that’s where Willis, a Chicago native who graduated from Conn College in 2009 with a degree in economics, will compete in the London Olympics, in what’s known as the RS:X sailboard class. Willis took time off from studying at Conn College to try and qualify for the 2008 Olympics. He finished third in the trials (competitors must win to qualify) at age 19 and was encouraged, so set 2012 as his goal. Willis is the top-ranked American in the sport and is the first U.S. Olympic windsurfer who doesn’t hail from California or Florida. It’s a good thing he made the team, because in a recent controversial decision, the International Sailing Federation announced that windsurfing, which has been an Olympic sport since 1984, will be discontinued after these Olympics and kiteboarding will be added for the 2016 Olympics.