by Craig Heydon
Highly experienced member of the Australian Olympic Team, RS:X sailor Jessica Crisp, is all set for her fourth shot at Olympic gold. She will begin her London 2012 campaign on Tuesday when the women’s RS:X class complete their first two races on the waters off Weymouth and Portland in south-west England.
Jessica Crisp racing on the Olympic course in Weymouth - London 2012
'I’m feeling good and am ready to race,' said Crisp. 'I’m excited and a little nervous but actually more relaxed than normal which is good.'
The 42 year old is Australia’s most experienced campaigner at these Games, having competed at the last four Olympics.
'This time I’m embracing the whole Olympics thing,' said Crisp. 'The first time I completely blocked everything off, this time I’m like no way, enjoy every minute of it. I’m going in with a different attitude and I think it’s much better to do it like this, enjoy every minute and you can look back and think how great it was.'
As well as competing at every Games since Sydney 2000, Crisp also took part in the windsurfing demonstration event at Los Angeles 1984 when she was just 14 years old.
'1984 was the turning point in my career and why I kept on windsurfing,' she said. 'I had so much fun there, it was very different because I was so young, just 14, and you don’t really know what was happening, but as you get older and you realise just how big the Olympics are.'
Traditionally Crisp has had success in lighter conditions but has been spending a lot of time in the gym to prepare for everything that Weymouth will throw at the windsurfing fleet.
'Usually I prefer the light conditions but I’ve been training a lot in the heavier stuff and have speed and height which is good,' she said. 'In the practice race today I was third around the top mark and normally I’m third last in these conditions.
'I had to put on weight for these Games and have been lifting a lot of heavy weights trying to get bigger and stronger,' said Crisp. 'It’s all about trying to put on muscle weight and gain strength. They’ve been trying to get me stronger for 12 years and finally I’ve got it this year.'
'I’m really enjoying these conditions and hopefully things can go my way, a lot can happen out there,' she said.
The RS:X women’s fleet will contest two races on Tuesday with competition continuing until the medal race on Tuesday August 7.
Australian Sailing Team website