Tom Ramshaw: Peaking for the podium
Published on January 16th, 2020
Twenty-eight year old Tom Ramshaw is among the leaders on the Canadian Sailing Team with legitimate medal prospects for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck checks in with the Finn campaigner for an update:
You made your Olympic debut at Rio 2016, but after finishing 21st was there any doubt about continuing toward Tokyo?
Part of the decision to switch from Laser to Finn in the summer of 2015 was to commit to both 2016 and 2020 Olympic campaigns; it didn’t make much sense to switch for just one year. I used 2016 as a learning experience, and while it was definitely a disappointing result, there was a lot of lessons to be had from it. I wanted to take that and make sure my preparation for the 2020 Olympics would be the best possible, to give me a shot at the medals and not just be a participant.
While your struggles continued at the 2017 Finn World Championship, you’ve been top ten at the 2018 and 2019 Worlds. What was needed to find that level of competitiveness?
In the last two years I’ve been a lot more focused. Everything I do and every decision I make in my life right now comes down to what will make me a better sailor. In 2016 and 2017, I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifices necessary to get into the top ten and it took me a long time to realize that. As a result, my training has gotten a lot more effective and I’ve figured out how to peak at the right times.
You have now been nominated to the 2020 Sail Canada Olympic Team. How has this changed your approach?
My preparation for the Olympics and training was all planned assuming I would qualify in December, so not much has changed since although now when people ask me about Tokyo, it’s a lot easier to say I’ve qualified rather than try to explain the complicated trials and qualification process.
What remains on your to-do list to ensure a top performance in Tokyo?
There’s a couple skills I need to really nail down so I will continue to work on those throughout this seasons training. For results I would like to be in the hunt for medals in a few of the regattas this season so at the Olympics I can be more familiar with being it that position.
Has the prospect that 2020 is the last Olympics for the Finn heightened the urgency for you?
I would say no – all I can do is go out and give it my best shot over the four years and anything other than that is out of my control. I have made no plans beyond August 2020, but it’s definitely sad that the Finn will no longer be raced in the Olympics as it’s such a great, physical boat to race. But if I decide to continue Olympic sailing, I am confident I could return to the Laser or possibly commit to another Olympic class.