I am World Champion again, but my focus is still on Rio Olympics
Published on May 27th, 2016
There are few guaranteed things in life, but of late, British domination in the Finn class is close. Sir Ben Ainslie has wore gold in the class for the past three Olympics, and earned six Finn World titles, but the baton has now been passed on, with confidence, to his countryman Giles Scott. In a ‘birds of a feather’ sort of way, the two have teamed up for the British America’s Cup challenge, but for now through August, Scott is focused on the one thing that Ainslie has on him…the Olympics. Here Scott reports…
Don’t get me wrong, to have won the world championship in Italy earlier in May was a bloody good thing to do – especially as there is only one man, Ben Ainslie, who has won it more than me.
But, strangely enough, I do want a bit more for this year. There is a little event in Rio de Janeiro in August that is looming quickly.
Still, as I said, to be world champion for the fourth time feels great. Given that the class has been contested at world level since the early 1950s, it feels pretty good to be only one behind Ben.
He is still ahead of me of course, but he hasn’t said anything about it – that’s not his style. But if I win next year, will I say anything? We’ll see.
The person who came second in Italy, Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark, is the guy who won silver at London 2012, having infamously made Ben “angry”, when he and another sailor forced the eventual gold medalist into making a penalty turn in the second race.
He has taken quite a bit of time out after finishing in behind Ben at Weymouth four years ago and has only recently come back into it.
I have to say he seemed pretty happy with his second place in the worlds – he felt that it was his first race where he is getting back to his old self.
Even so, I had an unassailable lead heading into the final day’s medal race. So all I really had to do was complete the course.
But according to the rules, every sailor has to show intent to race, no matter how big their lead happens to be. For the record, I came third in the final race, so I am pretty sure I did my bit to show intent.
I had planned to have a week off after the Worlds – I arrived back in the UK on 15 May – but a viral infection ensured that my rest was total and enforced.
It has set my fitness levels back a bit, which I aim to put right by the end of May. I’ll be land-based, although I may get out for a sail on an America’s Cup yacht with Ben and the team.
Then at the beginning of June it is the World Cup event in Weymouth, our final home regatta before the Rio Games. It’ll be good to get out in front of a home crowd, which will give us encouragement before our next pre-Olympic assignment: travelling to Rio itself.
We will be going for a two-week block of training and it will be as close to the conditions for the Games as possible. It will no doubt be very different to the last time I was there, in March, as then the stiff summer breezes were blowing.
We will also be able to get a flavour of how short the daylight hours will be during the Games as it will be winter and the sun will set at around 5.30pm.
As I understand it, we may even be towed back in the dark after races during the Olympics.
It is more so that the organisers do not have to deal with the headache of having a competitor floating off in the dark, rather than us being unable to sail back.