2012 Rolex World Sailor of the Year

Lijia Xu is 2012 Rolex World Sailor of the Year

Lijia Xu is 2012 Rolex World Sailor of the Year

First published in Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

Well the Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards last week now seem a very long time ago. It is always a very tough award but especially so in an Olympic year. I really do not think that there could have been two more worthy winners than Ben Ainslie and Lijia Xu.

 

In fact if you look under the word winner in the directory in a few years time you may see a picture of Ben under the word winner!

Both winners battled with injury and both came through, in the last race of the Olympics, under tremendous pressure when it counts.

 

Ben has now collected his fourth Olympic Gold medal, while Lijia collects her first at 24, the same age as Ben was when he collected his first Gold medal. So who knows what career lies in front of the young Chinese girl, who was the only 2008 Radial medallist to medal in 2012.

However time and tide wait for no man, and no sooner has one Olympiad finished than another starts. The level (and I mean this in every way: technical, physical, psychological) is always rising, the bar becoming ever higher. So if you are in performance terms standing still, then you are in reality going backwards, compared with the rest of the fleet.

Already many, many people have been to Rio and are putting together their four year plan for the next Olympics. Planning is after all the foundation of success.

The first year of a new Olympic cycle may be a quieter year compared to the others, a time to catch up with friends and family, but there is no such thing as a quiet year in Olympic sailing.

One aspect of the sport that has certainly not been quiet is Olympic Windsurfing/Kitesurfing and I can only imagine the levels of emotion that so many people have been going through. It’s been an incredibly difficult six months for everyone, although hopefully the drama is now behind us although there is still the IOC meeting to come next month.

The RSX World Championships have actually been moved to late February in Buzios, Brazil and I shall certainly watch this event with interest although I am not sure when I will make it out to Brazil myself.

 

I have been enjoying a quiet time in the UK, catching up with friends and family, even if some did not recognise me as, half way through "Movember" I now have quite an impressive Moustache.

I finished the last couple of UK events, the Radial  Inlands and the Radial Masters (over 35s) Inlands. Ironically I won the Radial inlands which had a much larger fleet (about 100 boats more) and was in theory a much tougher fleet with a race to spare, whereas I made very hard work of the Radial Masters, to win it by the narrowest of margins (1 point) after sailing a poor first day... I think I find it easiest to perform at my best when I feel under pressure.

 

My next stop now is Australia, for Sail Sydney and some holiday afterwards. I hope this will help clear my mind and allow me to make some good and well informed decisions for what I wish to do in 2013 and beyond.  I currently have many options open to me and I want to be truly sure that I select the right one.

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