Nick of Time the Nick Scandone Story

Jan Harley

Orange County, Calif. (September 6, 2012) – Exactly four years ago, during the 2008 Paralympic Games in China, a well-known sailor from Fountain Valley, California, earned national and international recognition with his win of a Gold medal in sailing. While the Paralympics have a wealth of athletes with personal stories of triumph over adversity, Nick Scandone was one of the rarer shining lights that year, quietly waging the battle of his life even as he sailed for the gold with crew Maureen McKinnon-Tucker. Scandone’s journey to Paralympic Gold was six years in the making, and had started with the college sailing All-American being diagnosed – at age 36 – with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Nick of time the nick scandone story

At the time of diagnosis, in July 2002, Scandone was given two to five years to live. His remarkable path from the shock of receiving what was basically a death sentence, to turning his love for sailing into a mission to achieve at the elite level of the sport, is now being told by his widow Mary Kate Scandone in the just-released book Nick of Time: The Nick Scandone Story.

Scandone battled the progressive neuromuscular disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement, with a positive outlook while knowing that there was no cure. As the illness worsened he went from sailing the singlehanded 2.4 Metre, in which he won the 2005 2.4 Metre World Championship which also earned him that year’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award, to racing the doublehanded SKUD-18 with McKinnon-Tucker as his strength and energy eroded. And while his physicality was being challenged, Scandone remained tenacious in his determination to continue competing. "Sailing has allowed me to have something to look forward to," he said.

Nick of time the nick scandone story

Nick of Time: The Nick Scandone Story details how Nick chose not to lie down and die but to live with an attitude and mindset that led him to pursue and fulfill his dream of winning a gold medal. “I am extremely thrilled that Nick’s story can now be shared,” said Mary Kate Scandone. “It is truly a compelling story that needs to be told, and my hope is that this book will inspire anyone whose life has taken an unexpected turn.”

As much as the book is about a remarkable man, it is also a portrait of the woman who helped him achieve his goals. The couple had been married just four short years, and was planning a family, when they received the devastating ALS diagnosis. Nick’s inspirational story is also clearly a love story, and, just as important, it is a wake-up call to start living in the moment. Nick and Mary Kate often said “Sailing helped us navigate thru these rough waters of our life. We accepted that we could not change the ‘wind’ that was driving our life but we could adjust our sails and get to where we needed to be.” With a unique attitude and a sense of humor, they took on one of the cruelest diseases and became a stronger couple despite knowing the inevitable outcome.

"Mary Kate has captured Nick’s incredible journey beautifully,” said Mike Pinckney who was Nick’s close friend and coach. “In Nick of Time: The Nick Scandone Story, I was reminded of Nick’s courage and was honored to have been a part of his dream.”

Nick of Time: The Nick Scandone Story chronicles Nick’s early life and introduction to the sport that would define it, as well as the life and struggles he shared with Mary Kate at his side. The 225-page book is available for $14.99 as a trade paperback through and for $6.99 as an e-book through More information is online at


About the author:

Mary Kate Scandone was Nick’s wife. This is her first book and was written to pay homage to Nick’s remarkable strength, to share their unique journey and to help inspire others. She lives in Southern California.