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Saving sailing through inclusion

Hampton sailing coach Alessandro Ambrosio was on a panel to promote diversity in sailing; he's the right man for the job.

HAMPTON, Va. — When you go to the Hampton University sailing roster, you're quickly whisked away on a world tour. From New York to Turkey and on to Italy, the home country of Head Coach Alex Ambrosi. His team is a manifestation of himself.

"My family is a diverse family. The mother of my son is from Africa, from Mozambique. Diversity for me is the normality," says Ambrosi. 

But that diversity has not always been the normality for United States sailing, the topic of Wednesday's US Sailing Diversity Panel featuring Ambrosi and others from the United States sailing community. 

As the coach of the only sailing team at an HBCU, Ambrosi hopes to make the sport more inclusive from the ground up.

"My idea about sailing is to change the standard that it is an elite sport for a certain class of people. Introduce sailing in elementary schools, you have to give the opportunity," Ambrosi says, reflecting on his beginnings in the sport at 6 years old. 

That inclusion is the foundation upon which his program is built. "About the social relationship, diversity is the best," Ambrosi says, touting diversity as the key to growth as a team, and as individuals. 

Hopefully, it's the block upon which all of sailing will build going forward.