Nicholas Scandone was an American yachtsman who narrowly missed participating on the U.S. Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics and won a gold medal as a Paralympian at the 2008 Summer Games.

Scandone learned to sail in an eight-foot Sabot dinghy at the Balboa Yacht Club. He went on to sail for the University of California where he was an All-American and won the ICYRA National Championship in 1988. Out of college, Nick won the National American title in the doublehanded 470 class and was described by the New York Times as “a rising star in the sailing world in the 1980s and 1990s.” Scandone entered the 1992 Olympic trials as the favorite in the 470 class but just missed earning a berth on the squad.

n July of 2002, Nick was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease due to which he decided to quit his job and pursue a medal in the Paralympic Games. He sailed in the 2.4-metre keelboat. He won the 2005 Open World Championship and was named US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, making him the only Paralympic sailor ever to achieve the honor. By the end of 2006, his condition had advanced to the point where he was physically unable to participate in the 2.4-metre class. Scandone moved to the SKUD 18 and went on to win a gold medal at the U.S. Paralympic trials in 2007. In 2008, he went to the Paralympic Games and was honored as the U.S. flag bearer as he went on to win a gold medal.

Prior to his death, he helped promote the Maritime Sciences and Seamanship Foundation at the Balboa Yacht Club, a program that he created to encourage disabled sailors to participate in the sport.

Acknowledgements and Honors 



Event / Honor



US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR/Miami


Ranked No. 1

The U.S. Disabled Sailing Team in the 2.4-metre class


Paralympic Gold Medal




FDS Disabled Sailing World Championship



Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Regatta


Rolex Yachtsman of the Year


CYRA All-American Sailor


CYRA National Champion