Q&A with Mimi Roller – Coral Bay’s Hometown Olympian

mimi waterEarlier today, we introduced you to Mimi Roller. Mimi is from Coral Bay and is currently preparing to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. We did a brief Q&A with Mimi about the Olympics and her ties to St. John. Here’s what she had to say:

What is it like to train for the Olympics?
Training for the Olympics is a full time job. It is a huge commitment that requires many sacrifices, but in the end, it is worth it, because we are lucky to be doing something that we are passionate about every single day, and it is always an honor to be representing the Virgin Islands internationally.

We have a strict training schedule that includes many hours in the gym, many hours doing boat work, and many more hours actually on the water honing our skills to perfection. Being in the best shape of our lives is imperative to the game. During competition we have to spend long hours on the water in oftentimes demanding and strenuous conditions, and our bodies have to be able to withstand hours of extreme cold or heat, and being able to push through whatever circumstances we are presented with.

We have currently been stationed out of St. Mary’s City – where we both attended college because I am also an Assistant Coach for the St. Mary’s Varsity Sailing Team. But soon we will be traveling throughout Europe preparing for our first Olympic Qualifier this coming September in Santander, Spain. All of this requires lots of logistics and planning – booking flights, finding accommodation, finding coaches and coach boats, arranging travel details of when we drive from one part of Europe to the next, planning which regattas to go to, finding training partners…. the list goes on. In all honesty, the planning part of the Campaign is pretty much a full time job as well, and sometimes it is hard to balance both training as hard as we can on the water with figuring out exactly how/where/when we can train.

How has the St. John community supported you?
I owe all of my sailing successes to my parents and to the whole St. John community. Throughout all of my sailing, the people of St. John have always been eager to help me achieve my goals. KATS has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my career – I started sailing there at age 10, and would definitely not be where I am today without the foundation that they provided for me.

When I made known that I was campaigning for the 2012 Olympics, so many people came together, writing articles in newspapers and online blogs, spreading awareness in every way they could about my cause, helping me to raise money so that I could fund a proper campaign.

Even if I didn’t get the result I wanted in a certain event, every time I come home, people in the community always tell me how proud they are of me and my successes, and that always keeps me motivated and keeps me working harder so that I can do better at the next regatta.

The St. John community is truly a family, and it’s great knowing that my family supports me.

What are you most looking forward to in the next Olympics?
It’s hard to say what I am looking forward to most. Our journey is just starting to begin, and we have so much traveling and experiences ahead of us, so much learning and growing to do. I’m excited for every step of our journey. This campaign is already so different from the last one. Having a sailing partner, a teammate gives the campaign a whole new dynamic – and I am learning so much already.

We are going to have lots of ups and downs throughout our campaign, but I’m looking forward to every improvement we will make and every top score we can finish at each event. I’m excited for all of the new friendships we will make along the way, and every new country that our travels will take us to. And I’m excited to be able to continue to represent St. John and the U.S.V.I. around the world.

Coral Bay’s Hometown Olympic Sailor Eyeing Rio in 2016

Mimi and Kayla
Kayla McComb (left) and St. John’s Mimi Roller (right)

It’s pretty amazing the talent that stems from this small island. Take Mimi Roller, for example. Mimi started sailing in 2001 at the age of 10, and has represented the Virgin Islands both nationally and internationally since 2002. After competing in the 2012 London Olympics, Coral Bay’s hometown sailor has now set her sights on the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But before she can do so, she needs our help.

“A successful Olympic Campaign is not only acheived by the athletes, but also by the support of the community,” Mimi wrote on her website MKSailing.com. “The path of Olympic sailing in the Virgin Islands is quite different than in other countries. International competition and leading Olympic teams are fully funded through means such as the lottery or full time sponsorship. Unfortunately, we do not have access to such means and rely on our suppliers, corporate sponsors and the generosity of our family, friends and community supporters to help support our various expenses.”

Well the folks over at Skinny Legs are planning to do their part this Saturday when they hold a fundraising event for Mimi and her teammate Kayla McComb. The event will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature Caipirinhas and Brazilian food specials, as well as raffles and a chance to buy MK Sailing gear.

For those of you unable to make Saturday’s event, but still want to help, you can contribute online by clicking here. Financial contributions are not the only types of donations that can be made, however. Housing in training or competition venues can significantly help reduce costs. Local motorboats would also enable Mimi and Kayla to support a coach. Other donations could include frequent flyer miles, free meals, your company’s product, or any other creative ways you can think to help.

Mimi recently released a nice little video on her and Kayla, how they met and what they’re hoping to accomplish. Check it out below:


Fun fact: Mimi’s parents own Coral Bay Organic Gardens. Click here to read a story we wrote on the business also known as “Josephine’s Greens.”