Hometown supports Shipley on eve of Olympics

"POULSBO - Scott Shipley may have called his parents, Dick and Sue Shipley, very early this morning after he competed in the Olympic kayaking finals in Sidney, Australia. Or, maybe he didn't. If he likes his result, he'll call, Sue said on Saturday. If he doesn't he won't, and we may have to look for the results online. Sometimes when Scott doesn't race so well, Sue Shipley explained, it takes him a while to call his folks. No matter how well Scott Shipley does this week, the eyes of Poulsbo will be on him. "

“POULSBO – Scott Shipley may have called his parents, Dick and Sue Shipley, very early this morning after he competed in the Olympic kayaking finals in Sidney, Australia. Or, maybe he didn’t. If he likes his result, he’ll call, Sue said on Saturday. If he doesn’t he won’t, and we may have to look for the results online. Sometimes when Scott doesn’t race so well, Sue Shipley explained, it takes him a while to call his folks. No matter how well Scott Shipley does this week, the eyes of Poulsbo will be on him. Poulsbo’s Shipley will compete in his third Olympics, gunning for the gold in Sydney. In Barcelona he placed 23rd, and in Atlanta he placed 12th. As he tries to take the gold in Australia, North Kitsap is behind him, as evidenced by the rally held Saturday afternoon at Central Market in his honor. Inside the store, there is a display featuring Shipley posters, and a table covered with butcher paper. The paper has signed messages that will be presented to him when he returns to Poulsbo in October. Most of the messages are encouraging: Go for it! or I always knew you’d do it. Some are competitive: Do it before I do. And least one offers help: If you tip over, call me on your waterproof cell phone and I will come and turn you right side up. That message is followed by a phone number. Outside, Shipley’s parents and supporters dug into hamburgers and chips. The attention of the younger fans was focused on two of Scott’s kayaks that sat by the entrance to the store. Want to get in Scott’s kayak? A parent asked the child. The child, staring at the craft in awe, just shook his head no. The two kayaks, Scott’s father Dick explained, have different purposes. One, blue in color, is not for competition, and in fact is not the right weight to be eligible. The other, red with black stripes, is a competition model that was supposed to travel with Shipley to the Olympics. But, it didn’t. Scott designed the kayak, his father explained. He designed it for his own proportions, because he is slightly larger than most kayakers. But while the kayak has proved popular – many teams now use the model – the original arrived too late for Scott to take to the Olympics. He’s still trying to catch up with this one, Dick explained, looking at the kayak at his feet. It’s more than a kayak, Dick explained. It was also the product of academics. Scott, who studies mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech (a school picked because it was close to the Atlanta Summer Olympics) designed the kayak for class. This was his senior thesis, Dick said. Dick and Sue saw their son at two World Cup races he made in Europe, the first in Prague, the second in Germany. It was fun, a lot of fun, Dick explained. With World Cup races, you get to spend a lot of time together. We got to meet Scott’s girlfriend – he met her in Germany – and he even let me try one of the courses, which has been a dream of mine. Now Scott will try again for one of his own dreams, a gold medal. But it won’t stop him from having fun. He called us yesterday at about one o’clock in the morning, when he walked in the opening ceremonies, Dick recalled. Woke us up out of a sound sleep. Scott called on a cellular phone provided for him at the Olympics. He even waved when he entered the stadium, so his parents would see them, his mother said. That was so cool. He said, ‘I’m here! I’m here! I’m entering the stadium!’ Sue recalled. We watched all night, but they cut to a commercial. When they came back they were to Zimbabwe or something. Sue said a neighbor managed to see Scott interviewed the next morning. The rest of them (the athletes) were, you know, talking like sports guys. And when they got to Scott he said, ‘I love it. It’s like Christmas every four years.’ And the camera panned down to his feet, and he was barefoot. That’s pretty much Scott, Sue said. She laughed. Sue hopes he does well. It means so much to him, she said. You want your kids to do what they want to do and he’s worked so hard. She is happy about the community’s support of Scott. T-shirts that are sold at Central Market and Olympic Outdoor Center will go toward helping fund his trip to Australia. He’s been gone 10 years. I’m so impressed and pleased the town still honors him. Sue, Dick and much of Poulsbo will be watching as Scott competes. He will return to Poulsbo for about two weeks in October. When he returns, Dick cautioned, Scott and his girlfriend may pack up some kayaks and go to the San Juan Islands. You’ll find them on the water somewhere. “

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