2012 Olympics

Menlo Park resident Ted Huang, who competed in windsurfing at the Olympics

Menlo Park resident Ted Huang discovered his Olympic sport, wind surfing, thanks to a bit of serendipity. “I grew up in the South Bay, and my Dad was an aeronautical engineer but had a side job importing products from Taiwan,” he recalls. “One of his friends asked if he could add some windsurf boards to the container.

“I was 11 years old and had been doing the typical piano and violin thing, but those boards really got my attention. I started out on Lake Lagunita [on the Stanford campus] and moved on to Foster City Lagoon, where another windsurfer spotted me and invited me to join a racing team. I was like 12 years old and the youngest by far. I would hang on for dear life and beat the big kids. Everyone called me ‘little Teddy.’”

Ted was among the top-ranked American windsurfers during his late teens and early 20s. He came in second to his arch-nemesis in both the 1992 and 1996 windsurfing Olympic trials, and with only one windsurfer going to the Games, Ted faced a tough decision when Taiwan approached him in 1996 about representing his parents’ homeland.

Olympic athlete Ted Huang“I was really torn, as like other American athletes, I’d always dreamed of representing my country,” he says. “But in the end, I resigned from the U.S. National team and competed in the games for Taiwan in both 1996 and 2000. (Ted placed 9th and 12 respectively.)

Today, Ted can be found atop a bike much more frequently than on a windsurfing board. He gave up the latter sport “cold turkey” after the 2000 Games. “Windsurfing is a loner sport,” he says. “I like the camaraderie of cycling. I went windsurfing for the first time in a long time when Scott photographed me for InMenlo.”

Through cycling he met his wife Christine Thorburn, who was a member of the U.S. cycling team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. For many years, he raced for Webcor, where he also works, but as he explains, “I hung up my cleats in 2009 and haven’t raced since — and don’t plan to do so in the future. Racing is just such a slippery slope.”

Apart from his athletic accomplishments, Ted is passionate about sustainability and is active with the environmental group Acterra. He also founded a cycling advocacy group called Give A Little, which reminds cyclists and motorists to do just that.

“Windsurfing was a tremendous gift to me,” he says. “On the U.S. National team, I traveled around the world to take part in competitions. It helped me gain what I call ‘street smarts.’ You learn to be diplomatic — you’re an ambassador for your country and your sport.

“I really want to give credit to my parents, who provided me with tremendous support. They always told me, ‘If you’re going to do something, do it to your fullest and never quit.’”

Photos by Scott R. Kline

{ Be the first to comment }

Denied in 1980, Chris Dorst plays goalie and medals in water polo at 1984 Olympics

Thumbnail image for Denied in 1980, Chris Dorst plays goalie and medals in water polo at 1984 Olympics

Compared to fellow Menlo-Atherton High School grads Anne Cribbs and Dick Roth, who both competed in the Olympics while teenagers, Chris Dorst was an old man of 28 when he played goalie on the men’s water polo team which won the Silver Medal in 1984. His Olympic journey was also a bit more circuitous. During […]

Click to read more →

Christine Thorburn landed on the Olympic cycling team while also going to medical school

Thumbnail image for Christine Thorburn landed on the Olympic cycling team while also going to medical school

Ask Menlo Park resident Christine Thorburn how she managed to become a U.S. Olympic cyclist while simutaneously going to medical school, and her answer is quick: “I’m not sure how I did it, to be honest.” Christine came west from Iowa to enroll at Stanford’s School of Medicine. Once here, she feel in love with […]

Click to read more →

Announcer Ted Robinson picks the five most exciting moments he’s broadcast in sports

Thumbnail image for Announcer Ted Robinson picks the five most exciting moments he’s broadcast in sports

Editor’s note: Over the past 30 years, Atherton resident Ted Robinson has broadcast every major sport, lots of “minor” sports and covered seven Olympics. For his efforts, he’s been awarded two Emmy awards. He’ll be at the Summer Olympics this year covering diving and calling the Gold Medal men’s singles tennis  match. He talked to […]

Click to read more →

Bit by the broadcasting bug early, Ted Robinson announces just about every sport on the planet

Thumbnail image for Bit by the broadcasting bug early, Ted Robinson announces just about every sport on the planet

Ted Robinson knew early on he wanted to be a sports announcer. “Truth is, I really wanted to be an athlete but wasn’t good enough,” he recalls. “But I was passionate about sports, and announcing was the next best thing. “My relatives all thought I was weird. I’d be upstairs in my room with the […]

Click to read more →