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About Us

Team Paradise is a truly unique sailing organization that gives the disabled community an opportunity to sail at all levels of expertise, ranging from recreational enjoyment to training for world-class competitions. Our founder, Magnus Liljedahl (pronounced LEELLCHEDAWL), is a gold medal Olympic and World Champion sailor, 6-time Bacardi Cup Champion, 4-time North American Champion, 3-time European Champion, Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, and ISAF World Sailor of the Year. As if that wasn't enough to have felt a sense of accomplishment in life, Magnus will tell you none of those medals compares to the life fulfillment he receives from being the Executive Director of Team Paradise Sailing.

The organization was created by Magnus in 2005, who decided to share his expertise with those with disabilities through coaching, sailing lessons, and equipment, to compete in national and international competition, also known as regattas. Team Paradise Sailing develops athletes for the Paralympic Summer Games. Participants of his program have achieved the podium not only at World Cup events but also at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games.

In winning the Olympic gold medal in sailing at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Magnus Liljedahl personified the against-all-odds fighting spirit that has earned him the nickname "The Viking". A dedicated athlete and sailor since childhood, he has competed at the top of his sport since he was a young man with many notable accomplishments on his sailing resume.

In 1997, he teamed up with Mark Reynolds with the hopes of making the Olympic team. Their first few victories in world-level regattas gave them a top ranking, and for the next two years they dominated the Star Boat class before capturing the US Olympic Trials in the spring of 2000 and the right to represent the United States at the Sydney Games.

Just ten months earlier, Liljedahl's wife of 22 years, Agneta, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. He took a hiatus from training for the next four months to become her "coach" in fighting what would eventually be a losing battle. Almost exactly one year prior to the Sydney games, Magnus lost his beloved Agneta.

Magnus credits his return to Olympic training for his ability to recover from this devastating blow. Over the next six months, Reynolds and Liljedahl continued to compete successfully, but without the dominance of prior months. Many thought they had peaked too soon, and Liljedahl's personal loss was weighing heavy. After five Olympic races of 11 total, they stood 12th in the standings by a significant margin, an almost impossible deficit to overcome in such a talented field of international champions.  

Awards and Recognition

US Sailing certified Basic Keel Boat Instructor - 2017

12 Good Men Award - Ronald McDonald Foundation™ - 2016 

Dockwalloper at Coral Reef Yacht Club - 2016  

Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy - 2014

ISAF Sailor of the Year - World Sailing - 2000

Rolex™ Yachtsman of the Year - 2000

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