by Craig Heydon
At London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, Olympic gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell begin their 2012 campaign on Friday with the 470 women’s class the final one to get underway in Weymouth. Rechichi and Stowell have only been sailing together since late 2011 but bring a wealth of experience to the boat.
ISAF Sailing World Championship. AUS Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell
Rechichi won gold sailing alongside Tessa Parkinson at Beijing 2008 and Stowell stood on the top step of the podium at Sydney 2000, going on to compete at Athens 2004.
Though they’ve only had limited time together the pair have already tasted success, winning the first regatta they competed in together, the ISAF Sailing World Cup round in Melbourne last December.
The pair went on to finish ninth at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships on home waters.
Rechichi and Stowell have had a few setbacks in the lead up to London 2012 with Stowell suffering a back injury in March which kept her out of the boat for a number of weeks.
Stowell is now back to full strength with the pair having spent a lot of time over the last two months training in Weymouth and are ready to begin the defence of Australia’s 470 women’s gold medal.
'The last week has been more about small refinements, cutting the edges off and getting a bit of polish on everything that we’re doing,' said Stowell. 'I think we’re in a pretty good space with how we work together, some teams communicate all the time no matter how long they’ve been together, we may talk a little bit more or we may have a few more discussions than those that have been sailing together for a long time, but we’re going well together and looking forward to racing.'
When asked about their goal for London 2012 Stowell’s response is blunt, 'You don’t go to Olympics not after the gold medal,' she said.
Rechichi spent some time away from sailing following the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games but is enjoying being back in the thick of the action as she prepares for her second Olympic appearance.
'The work has been done and we want to keep it pretty simple at this point,' said Rechichi. 'The communication at this point is ideally getting less and less, if you have to talk about a lot of things that’s not good, so we just touch on our key focus points and it becomes more a case of staying in the right headspace, we know the work that we’ve done and we know what we need to do.'
Rechichi said she treats the Olympics like any other regatta, ensuring that she goes through the same routines each day.
'I just stay in my own world and do my own thing, both of us are pretty happy most of the time so that won’t change,' she said. 'I think it’s more of a mind game when you’re changing what you’re doing, it probably has more of an effect on people when you’re exactly the same as normal heading into the Games.'
Races one and two for the 470 women will be held on Friday, 3 August with the final medal race taking place on Friday 10 August.
Australian Sailing Team website