08/03/12 10:10am

FACEBOOK PHOTO | Amanda Clark (right) and Sarah Lihan in Olympic waters Friday.

Shelter Islander Amanda Clark and her racing partner Sarah Lihan are in a fourth-place tie following their first two Olympic Women’s 470 sailing races this morning off the coast of Weymouth, England.

The U.S. sailors are tied with the Netherlands, one point behind Israel and New Zealand, who are tied for second place. Host nation Great Britain leads the way.

Team Go Sail was 3 minutes, 20 seconds behind first-place the Netherlands, which was followed by New Zealand and Israel in the first race.

Team Go Sail then placed third in the second race.

They were 1 minute, 6 seconds behind the first-place team from Great Britain. A German team was in second place.

The women are slated to sail twice a day today, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the top 10 teams will compete in the medal race next Friday morning.

You can watch the races at www.nbcolympics.com

Visit the Shelter Island website at sireporter.com for results throughout the week.

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07/28/12 9:00am

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Islanders gathered at the Chequit Friday night to watch the Opening Ceremony of the the London Olympics.

With about a week still to go before Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark begins her Olympics competition in London, some of her family remains on the Island.

That gave Islanders the rare thrill of having the opportunity to watch the Opening Ceremony with the husband and sister of an Olympian, as dozens of Island folk headed to the Chequit Friday night to watch the festivities.

Amanda’s husband, Greg Nissen, is fourth from left of the green pillar in the photo above. He’s standing to the right of his sister-in-law, Rebecca Clark, Amanda’s sister. They will both travel to London for the Olympics later this week.

Amanda’s parents watched the Opening Ceremony live from Olympic Stadium in London. Her mother, Ellen Clark, tweeted Thursday that she met NBC “Today” host Matt Lauer, who mentioned that he was already aware of Amanda since he owns a home nearby.

Check out that tweet and a compilation of other recent social media posts about Amanda below:

[View the story “Social media posts on Island Olympian Amanda Clark” on Storify]
07/27/12 7:30pm

PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK | Amanda Clark, left, and crew Sarah Lihan at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in London.

Although it now appears unlikely that a news crew from WNBC will be at the Chequit Inn tonight to watch Shelter Islanders cheer on Olympic sailor Amanda Clark, many Islanders, including Ms. Clark’s husband Greg Nissen are expected at the Chequit.

WNBC had originally inquired about reporting from the Chequit on the hometown crowd tonight, but a high level spokesman told the Reporter that now seems very unlikely. For those not at the Chequit who want to tune in tonight, Channel 4 will carry the opening ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony, which began at 4 p.m. EST, is airing on tape delay.

Islanders have been actively following qualifying races in the past several months that not only put Ms. Clark and her sailing partner Sarah Lihan on the U.S. Sailing Team, but gave every indication that they could well earn Team Go Sail a place on the podium at the 2012 London Olympics in the Women’s 470 races. Just last month, the women took home a silver medal in the Skandia Sail for Gold World Cup regatta off the coast of Weymouth, England, the same venue where their Olympic competition takes place next week. In that competition, Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan actually took first place in the final-day medal race to put themselves in second place in the overall competition. Many of those competing in Weymouth in June will be the same competitors they’ll face in the Olympics.

The sailing competition begins for the pair on Friday, Aug. 3 and continues through Friday, Aug. 10, when the medal race is scheduled for those top sailing teams that have emerged from the pack during the previous week.

[Click here for an NBC profile of Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan]

Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan have been in Weymouth preparing for their races, but were to travel to London today for the opening ceremonies before continuing their preparation for next week’s races.

Greg Nissen, Ms. Clark’s husband, won’t be able to join her until Aug. 6 because his duties as director of Camp Quinipet require his presence here through Aug. 5, he said. But he’s looking forward to joining friends and neighbors at the Chequit.

“The opening ceremonies will be a beautiful and big thing, one of those incredible patriotic moments, to see Amanda fulfilling her dream,” he said in a telephone interview this morning.

He plans to be in England for several days that would include the medal ceremony on Aug. 10. While he said he’s not superstitious, in deference to his wife — “sailors are terribly superstitious,” he said — he hesitates to predict that Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan will be on that podium.

“I don’t want to jinx anything,” Mr. Nissen said.

While this will be Ms. Clark’s final run as an Olympic sailor, Mr. Nissen said he’s sure she will continue to be involved with the U.S. Sailing Team in the future, helping others to do fundraising and sharing her expertise that comes from two Olympic experiences. Ms. Clark competed with her previous crew, Sarah Chin, at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where the team placed 12th.

While it’s somewhat melancholy to know this is Ms. Clark’s final Olympic run, Mr. Nissen admitted he won’t miss the fundraising.

It costs about $400,000 to mount an Olympic campaign, including travel and equipment for all the races that lead up to the final races.

A lot of that funding has come from a very generous community that has supported Team Go Sail, Mr. Nissen said. But when there’s a shortfall, he reverts to his own credit card.

“I won’t miss that,” he said. “We’re happy at living very modestly,” but not having the financial pressures will be a welcome relief, he said.

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03/17/12 2:00pm

Supporters will gather in Greenport Saturday to meet Olympians Amanda Clark of Shelter Island and her sailing partner Sarah Lihan of Florida, who will be competing in the women’s 470 boat races in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

The fundraiser at Hanff’s Boatyard at 190 Sterling Street will feature a video of the sailors in competition. Both women will be on hand to talk about their experiences and answer questions.

For Ms. Clark, this will be her second Olympic competition. She competed with partner Sarah Chin in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, where the pair placed 12th. In 2004, she was an Olympic sailing team alternate.

This year, Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan are ranked sixth in the world by the International Sailing Federation.

Saturday’s event will feature food prepared by Chef Dan Mannix and beer and wine provided by Greenport Harbor Brewery, Macari, Pindar and Old Fields vineyards and Clovis Point and Peconic Bay wineries.

Three East End sailing charters will be auctioned to benefit the Clark-Lihan pair known as “Team GoSail.”

Organizers of the event are Ms. Clark’s parents, Ellen and Dennis Clark; Chef Mannix; Pat Mundus; Costello Marine; Nancy Morrow; and Wooden Boatworks.

Tax deductible contributions of $100 can be made at the door on Saturday. The event is slated from 3 to 6 p.m.

Supporters unable to attend who wish to make a contribution should call Ms. Clark’s husband, Greg Nissen, at 749-5444.

03/17/12 10:00am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The start of the 2011 Shelter Island 10K race.

Get out your running shoes and start training. It may only be March, but before you know it, the 33rd annual Shelter Island 10K Run/Walk will be on the horizon.

This year’s date is Saturday, June 16 and organizers have chosen the theme “Celebrate London 2012.”

That’s because Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark and her sailing partner Sarah Lihan will be competing in the women’s 470 races at the Summer Olympics in London. This is Ms. Clark’s second bid for an Olympic medal and is likely her last, she has said.

This year’s 10K proceeds will again go to the Shelter Island 10K Community Fund, East End Hospice and Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch.

Team GoSail, as Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan call themselves, won’t benefit from the 10K but Ms. Clark’s supporters will be selling T-shirts and other paraphernalia to raise money to support their Olympic challenge, according to 10K Race Director Mary Ellen Adipietro.

About 2,000 runners and 5K walkers are expected to converge on the Island for the race, according to Ms. Adipietro.

Among the stars who will be on hand for this year’s 10K are past Olympic headliners Frank Shorter and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Mr. Shorter won the gold medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics marathon and has been credited by USA Track and Field as the driving force in distance running in the United States. He was elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984.

Ms. Benoit Samuelson won gold in the first women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and won the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983, the second time breaking a world record.

Perennial favorite Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the Boston and New York Marathons between 1975 and 1980, and winner of 22 marathons in his overall career, will return for the Shelter Island race.

Keith Brantly, another accomplished runner whose career has spanned three decades and includes participation in the 1996 Olympics, will also be here.

The Shelter Island Community Fund, a key race beneficiary, has supported numerous programs through the years, Ms. Adipietro said. It annually awards one or more scholarships to Shelter Island High School graduating seniors who have proven to be strong, positive role models for other students. The fund has contributed thousands of dollars to youth programs, including construction of the FIT Center at Shelter Island School, building and maintaining basketball courts, purchasing school sports uniforms, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America activities, exchange programs and drug education workshops.

Funding has also gone to community groups, including the Red Cross, the Mashomack Preserve chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the American Legion, the Historical Society, the Public Library and local senior citizens programming.

A second beneficiary of 10K money is East End Hospice, which provides end of life care and family support for people on Eastern Long Island.

The third beneficiary is Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead, which provides safe haven for boys 10 to 21 who are in need of a therapeutic environment. Ms. Adipietro said she gets numerous requests for funding and can’t honor them all. Individual teams of runners find their own ways, she added, to raise funds at the race for their own good causes.

That’s the case with supporters of a new track at the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District. They couldn’t entice nearby school districts to participate in a fundraising effort to replace the outdated cinder track in Mattituck. Supporters will field a team of runners, each of whom are seeking pledges to support the track project.

To register for the Shelter Island 10K Run/Walk, visit the website at shelterislandrun.com.