PUBLISHED 19 JULY 2012 16:57
Bound for glory
The last of our Olympic sailors head
for London. Story by Di Pearson.
The last Australian Sailing Team members left Sydney London bound for the Olympic Games in July; and Beijing 2008 gold medallist, Malcolm Page, Beijing Olympian Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and head coach Victor Kovalenko, spent their last day at the Team’s base at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Kovalenko said the Team had prepared well, but would not be drawn on medal chances. He did say: “All the Team has worked very hard – and medals come not with miracles - but hard work.”
Should Belcher and Page, reigning 470 Men’s world champions and World Ranked No. 1, win at these Games, Page, who has a record six 470 world titles, will be the first Australian sailor to ever win two gold medals.
“I’m aware I could be the first - I’m not daunted. Sailing is a job to me, and while another Gold would be exciting, we’re going to take it race by race; concentrate on our game,” said Page, the Team’s captain.
“I’m jumping out of my skin to get there and race. I’m looking forward to proving how good we are. We’ve prepared as well as we could, so I’m calm. It’s a great venue and the English culture and conditions are similar to ours.”
On the Team, Page said: “The base has given the team an identity and made us more professional. We’re like a family and respect each other.”
This will be the 40 year-old’s last Games. He plans starting a family and career. “I’d like to work in sailing in management, maybe in high-performance,” he said.
Iain Jensen makes his Olympic debut as Nathan Outteridge’s 49er crew: “I’m very excited. We’ve been so busy I haven’t had much time to think about it. I’ll probably be more nervous when we get to London – but Nath will sort me out,” he said.
Since the controversial 49er Medal Race at the Beijing Games, in which Outteridge and Ben Austin lost Gold 40 metres from the finish after a second capsize, Outteridge says he learnt a lot:
“It’s all about being good TV and putting on a show. We have to prepare for whatever, because it’s a “show must go on,” routine,” the 26 year-old acknowledged.
“We started those Games being disqualified and our second last race backfired. Our race philosophy is different now; our coach Emmett (Lazich) said that this will be a long event and every point counts.”
As Youth sailors, the record four-time 49er Worlds winner, and Jensen (three World titles), won the 420 Worlds and other titles. Always in sync, re-pairing for an Olympic campaign was inevitable.
“Emmett says our best quality is our ability to keep going strongly. Goobs (Jensen) has a natural feel for the boat, so doesn’t have to exert himself getting the job done – and I’m good at putting the boat in the right place. We trust each other,” Outteridge said.
Jensen added cheekily; “We’ve been first at Weymouth (Olympic venue lead-up regattas) a couple of times, so we’re good at it now.”
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