Team USA is making an impressive showing at the Youth Sailing World Championships happening along the Bayfront. One of its top athletes is rising above a major medical challenge as he aces the competition.
It’s hard not to notice Geronimo Nores. At 6 feet, 5 inches tall, the 18-year-old towers above his competitors on land and in the water in board sailing.
"The simplest way to describe it is surfing and sailing where it’s kind of like a sail on a surfboard," Nores explains.
The sailing has been smooth for Geronimo in these championships, but he hit an unexpected rough patch during a competition last summer.
He recalls, "Towards the end of the race, I started to feel really bad. I was losing a lot of weight. I couldn’t sail."
Geronimo says he didn’t feel any better the next day when he traveled to France. He went to a hospital there and after a blood test, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, it’s "a 24/7 disease that requires constant management."
For Geronimo, it changed everything.
"What that kind of required was a complete transition or change with regards to my mental state, my process, my transition, re-learning my body, kind of really discovering how to get back into what I love and do what I love everyday," the teen tells KRIS 6 News.
His dedication is already paying off. Nearly a year to the day he received his diagnosis, Geronimo secured the gold medal in the RS:X Boys windsurfer class in the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships.
"With the support of my family, my friends, my coaches and U.S. sailing and my service dog Luna, I was able to sail out there and do what i love to do best while staying safe."
Geronimo says that the organization, World Sailing, also did a lot to cater to his specific needs. It provided a medical safety boat for him and also arranged for a resident from a local hospital to be available for any potential medical emergency.
Fortunately, he says he didn’t have any problems during competition.
Type one diabetes will always be in Geronimo’s life. As of now, there’s no cure. However, he says he’s proven to himself that can live with the disease and thrive while doing it.
He also hopes to inspire others along the way.
"I can show other people that no matter what they want to do, no matter what condition they have or what disability they have, they can accomplish whatever they want."
Geronimo Nores says his short-term plan is to go home to Miami Beach and rest. Then, he says he will start focusing on the qualifier for next year’s Pan American Games.
Ultimately, he hopes to make the U.S. Olympic team, saying it would be "a dream come true."
The 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi wrap up on Friday with closing ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. at the American Bank Center.