While most students and alumni watched the Olympics from home, Georgetown alumnus Andrew Campbell (SFS ’06) had a front row seat. And although Campbell – the United States’ sailor in the Laser racing – was not as successful as his fellow Olympian Michael Phelps, he still had the time of his life.

From Aug. 12 to 19, Campbell raced in nine races at the Qingdao International Marina in Qingdao, China, one of which he won. He was the only American in the Laser event but was only able to place 26th out of 43.

When Campbell reflects about his time in China, though, he doesn’t fixate on his event.

“I think the coolest thing was when we were in Beijing after our event was over,” he says. “It was just like play time. Once your event is over, that is your world to go screw around in. . They’re just stacks [of tickets] at the U.S. house in the [Olympic] Village. You just look through the tickets and see what game you want to go see. The men’s basketball final – there’s a ticket just sitting there for you. You don’t have to sit in line or anything.”

Beijing had other perks as well: Campbell came into contact with the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the “Redeem Team,” who, as Campbell says, “couldn’t have been nicer guys.”

“There’s so much mutual respect between anybody who’s on that team together when you show up all dressed in the same uniform to go into the opening ceremony,” he said. “Everybody knows that you’re the best in the country in something, and there’s really a lot of mutual respect that everybody gives each other regardless of the fact that they’re such massive media icons.”

Campbell says that he found common ground with his U. S. teammates because they were the only Americans there.

To get to China, Campbell edged out Brad Funk in October 2007 for the right to represent the United States in the Laser event for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It was Campbell’s third Olympic trial; he qualified for the trials at the age of 16 for the Sydney games back in 2000 and as a sophomore at Georgetown for the Athens games in 2004.

Paul Goodison of Great Britain, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia and Diego Romero of Italy finished first, second and third, respectively. Accustomed to tremendous success in sailing – he was a four-time collegiate all-American at Georgetown – Campbell expressed his frustration with his middle-of-the pack Olympic performance.

“It just didn’t turn out to be that great of a regatta for me,” he says. “I was 15th going into the last day, and I could really lay it all out there and either break into the top 10 and extend my regatta and sail in the medal race . or things could go badly and that could be it, and that’s just the way it was. Things just didn’t turn out the way we wanted on the last day, and that’s how boat racing goes. Sometimes you have good days. Sometimes you have bad days.”

But Campbell did not leave Beijing entirely empty-handed. Cosmopolitan magazine, more commonly known as “Cosmo,” named him one of the “Sexiest 2008 Olympians.” Not an avid Cosmo reader, he had not seen the article until someone brought it to his attention.

“The most embarrassing thing is getting an e-mail from your grandmother about it,” he says. “The Cosmo nickname is something that I’m never going to get away from. The other sailors on the team picked that up and just ran with it.

“[It’s just] one of those things that comes with the experience,” he humbly concludes.

While in Beijing, Campbell did manage to find a bit of Georgetown. In addition to his Georgetown schoolmates, Campbell touched base with other Georgetown alumni and found it to be “the coolest thing, going into a strange city and meeting people that have a common thread with you.”

Campbell also noted that as many as 215 donors, some of whom were Georgetown alumni, made the pursuit of his Olympic dream possible, helping out with his 18-month training endeavor leading up to the Games.

“[I feel] quite humble that there are that many people out there that [supported] my campaign,” he says.

Campbell says he is still unsure about his future in the 2012 Olympics.

“There’s a lot to the sport that goes beyond the Olympic level in terms of professional sailing and that sort of thing, and I think I need to dabble in that first and see what I can do in terms of making money and supporting myself financially,” he says.

Back in the States, Campbell is now spending time with his girlfriend, Jackie Schmitz (SFS ’06) in D.C. and interviewing for a positions in the sailing world. He says he is looking to be anything from a professional sailor to a coach to a journalist.

Overall, Campbell says he enjoyed the Olympics.

“[It was] a bad result turned into a great event. I can’t say enough about how much fun we had,” he says.

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