Wind at her sails, Olympic glory in her sights
Meet alumna and Olympic sailing star Danielle Dubé
Skana Gee - July 23, 2012
From the Spring 2012 issue of Dalhousie magazine.
When Danielle Dubé (BMgmt’10) qualified last January for the upcoming summer Olympics, it marked a pinnacle in a sailing career that she’d once believed was over.
The 25-year-old Dal grad became the first Nova Scotian to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games during a World Cup event in Miami.
The only child of Judy Martin and Claude Dubé (who graduated from the Faculty of Dentistry in 1980), Danielle began sailing at age nine, when a friend who wanted to try it talked her into it. “I was a little bit afraid of the deep, dark water,” Ms. Dubé confesses. The experience also marked her introduction to synchronized swimming, when the instructor – who was experienced in both – showed them some moves.
Ms. Dubé had found a winter sport and a summer sport, although by 2003 she was focusing solely on sailing – in her byte, a one-person dinghy. She began competing nationally and then internationally, seeing the world from various ocean views.
She eventually set her sights on the Olympics, switching to the laser radial, a 14-foot single-handed dinghy with one mast and one sail, in 2005. But despite promising results during the next several years, Ms. Dubé found the pressure of her sport overwhelming.
“I fell out of love with the sport a little bit,” she admits. So in 2010 she retired, finishing her Bachelor of Management degree and taking a job at her father’s Halifax dental practice. But the break – and time spent with a sports psychologist – convinced her that she wasn’t finished, and she returned to competition late that year.
Fast forward, and Ms. Dubé and teammate Erin Rafuse are now based out of Weymouth, U.K., where the laser radial Olympic competition takes place in July. But she's also been bouncing around to other locales – including France, Spain and back to Halifax, where she sails out of St. Margaret Sailing Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron under trainer Brian Todd. She's also been working on gaining 8 to 10 pounds, since the crux of laser radial sailing lies in the ability to counterweight the light craft with core and quad strength.
“I’m really excited. I’ve run the whole gamut of feelings. After Miami, I was tired but relieved – I’ve been working really hard for a long time,” says Ms. Dubé. “Now I can’t wait to have that whole Olympic experience!”