Theresa Zabell

Olympic Yahtswoman


English, Spanish


Specific topics

AdversityAttitudePeak performanceResilienceSportadversityattitudeindividual responsibilityresilienceteamwork

Theresa was born in May 1965 in Ipswich, England. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to the Canary Islands in search of a warmer climate. They travelled to Tenerife by boat, marking Theresa's first experience with the sea. Shortly thereafter they moved again, this time to Pedregalejo, Malaga on the Costa del Sol.

Theresa attended San Francisco de Asis School in Fuengirola and from an early age showed a great aptitude for sports, including cycling, running, basketball and, of course, sailing. Whenever possible she would spend time at the Club Nautico in Torreblanca.

In 1975, aged just 10, Theresa Zabell took her first sailing course in Fuengirola. It wasn't easy, there were strong winds and she had a hard time managing the boat. She almost gave up, but fortunately her deep-rooted love for the sea drove her to continue.

Four years later she participated in her first Spanish Championship where she won 12th place. Next, aged just 14, Theresa participated in her first international competition in Holland where she came 30th.

When the International Yachting Association chose Seul as the place where the Olympic classifications would take place, Theresa tried to win a place on the Spanish Olympic team. However, Jesus Turro, who headed the Olympic team, decided that Adelina Gonzalez and Patricia Guerra would represent Spain in Seul. Theresa was deeply disappointed and decided to give up sailing. On her parents' advice, she went to London to study.

After the Olympic games in Seul, Paul Maes, the national trainer, tried to persuade Theresa to return to sailing. She was needed to team up with Patricia Guerra for the subsequent Olympic games in Barcelona. She didn't need too much persuading and the rest is history - Theresa won her first Gold Olympic Medal in her adopted country of residence.

Theresa subsequently met Manuel Lopez Camacho, who helped her to form her own private team, called the "Tezeta" and find sponsors, such as Banesto, El Corte Ingles and the Junta de Andalucia.

Over a period of three years Theresa won three more titles, including the European Crown and, during the summer of 1996, her second Olympic Gold Medal.

Theresa is one of the 64 Spanish Euro-delegates in the Partido Popular, Spain's ruling conservative party. She is married to Manolo Lopez and they have two children.

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