Skip to Content

RWU Sailing Alumnus Cy Thompson ’11 Advances to Quarterfinals in Rio Olympics

Hawks’ most decorated sailor representing the U.S. Virgin Islands at Rio 2016

Update: Finishing his second Olympic games with an impressive 19th-place ranking, Thomspon outpaced many of his rivals throughout 10 races in the Men's Laser division, but did not make the top-ten cut to compete in the Aug. 16 Medal Race. 

RIO, BRAZIL – With six races already under his belt, Roger Williams University’s national sailing champion Cy Thompson ’11 sailed into 22nd place and advanced to the quarterfinals Friday in the Men's Laser division of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  

A member of the U.S. Virgin Islands sailing team, Thompson competes against 45 of the best sailors from around the world. This is Thompson’s second appearance as an Olympian for the U.S. Virgin Islands sailing team, following a strong showing at the 2012 London Olympic Games where he finished 25th in the Men’s Laser One Person Dinghy Sailing event.

"To be back in the Olympic spotlight is a culmination of hard work and perseverance," says Thompson. "I was struggling financially at the beginning and only had one shot to qualify. I made it happen, but even after that it hasn't been smooth sailing. No pun intended! Training has been a grind, but it's just exciting to get another shot at it."

On Friday, Thompson will square off in quarterfinal races 7 and 8. If he advances, Thompson will get a shot at the semi-final competition and the medal race, both of which close out the competition for Olympic gold on Monday, Aug. 15.

"Since it's my second games, I'm feeling very relaxed," Thompson wrote in an email to PDQ@RWU this week from the Olympic Village in Rio. "It's nice that we are in the main athlete’s village and not at a satellite venue like we were in London. It's been pretty cool going to dinner and crossing paths with (American Olympians) Gabby Douglas, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and (Spain's Olympic Baketball Team member) Pao Gasol. I just watched (Serbian tennis player Novak) Djokovic warm up in the tennis court this morning outside my building and shook hands with (Spain's Olympian tennis star) Rafael Nadal."

During his time on the RWU sailing team, Thompson earned recognition as a three-time All-American and won the ICSA Men’s Singlehanded National Championship in his 2008-09 season. Thompson also earned All-NEISA First Team Skipper and was named RWU Male Athlete of the Year in 2009. He sailed in the Coed Dinghy Nationals and participated in the team’s sixth-place finish at the ICSA/Gill Coed Dinghy National Championship. Thompson also participated in the team’s second-place finish at the Atlantic Coast Championship. He ended his college career still on top, guiding the RWU sailors to become the 2011 team racing national champions.

Thompson was also a member of the RWU sailing team during the 2006-07 school year and spent the 2007-08 season competing in the 49er campaign for the chance to represent the U.S Virgin Islands in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Thompson graduated from Antilles High School in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He was a starting skipper from sophomore to his senior year. Thompson was a member of Roger Williams’s 2006 Sailing Team Racing National Championship squad.

The 2016 Olympic Games take place August 5 through August 21. Follow Thompson during the 2016 Rio Olympics Games at