Erik Storck – A Family Affair
While most kids his age had dreams of cracking their Little League roster or were simply content with receiving a “Thanks for Participating” trophy, young Erik Storck of Huntington wanted to sail in the Olympics.
His mother, Colette Storck, 56, laughs now recalling when her son, at 8 years old, revealed his ambition of competing on the world’s biggest stage with “USA” emblazoned on his sails. She and her husband John, 64, merely brushed it off at the time.
Storck will skipper the two-man 49er, a class of boat that satisfies his considerable appetite for speed. He grew up boating in Huntington Bay and comes from a family of sailors.
The sport “is in his blood,” his mother says.
All of his three siblings sail. His brother John is a coach at Dartmouth, where Storck attended college. His father is a lifelong sailor. Colette loves power boating and water skiing.
“This really is a family accomplishment as much as anything,” he tells the Press during the Larchmont Yacht Club sendoff. “Growing up on Long Island and being a sailor is fantastic.”
Storck started sailing the almost 17-foot-long 49er with his brother in 2003 and continued for four years. He admits he had the most “wipeouts” on a boat during those years, but credits his brother for keeping him on board.
On this steamy Saturday in Larchmont, Storck and his teammates are wearing matching khakis and navy blue Polos. With an ear-to-ear smile, he shakes hands, exchanges hugs and talks to younger sailors who’ve been waiting in a jagged line with other fans for his autograph.
While his mother describes him as “fun” and “thoughtful” on land, Storck insists that somewhere deep inside him lurks a “quiet killer” that bursts out during the heat of competition. It took more than dreams, a well-placed hometown and his family’s nautical genes to help him reach the pinnacle of his sport, however.
Team USA Performance Director and Head Coach, Kenneth Andreasen, a native of Denmark, says Storck is “super talented.” He adds in his Danish accent that Storck has “it”—though he can’t pinpoint exactly what that unique ability is. Those around the sport took note of Storck’s talent when he was just 10 years old, he says.
“He’s spent his life on the water from the time he was a baby, and he was very focused,” says Colette.
Storck talks about sailing like a romance novelist describing a first love:
“Feeling the wind, hearing the waves…once you get some breeze and you’ve got it perfectly dialed in and you’re just ripping along…it’s fantastic.”
Nineteen years later, he’s finally living the dream that his parents first shrugged off as idle talk.
“I was lucky enough to have some very good coaches when I was young and they saw potential in me,” he says. “They made me believe in myself.
“Anything was possible at that point.”