by Craig Heydon
Australian Laser sailor Tom Slingsby is used to heading into a regatta as favourite and the London 2012 Olympic Games is no different.
Tom Slingsby from Australia racing in the Laser class on day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland
In 2008 the 27 year old was in a similar position, but this time he will be looking for a much different result when the first Laser race gets underway in Weymouth on Monday.
Slingsby finished in an uncharacteristic 22nd place in Beijing having never fully got to grips with the conditions on and off the water in China. Fast forward four years and Slingsby again heads into an Olympic Games at the front of the Laser fleet, he’s the world number one and has won the last three World Championships.
But there’s one clear difference this time around, his performance at the Olympic venue. Slingsby has been dominant in Weymouth, winning all five regattas he has contested there.
Slingsby’s first victory after the Beijing Games was in Weymouth in 2009, a regatta he won with a race to spare, and he hasn’t looked back since. In recent weeks Slingsby has been training both in Weymouth and Italy as he builds towards his first race on Monday.
'Tom's preparation has been ideal,' said Australian sailing High Performance Director and Sailing Section Manager Peter Conde.
'His final training in Lake Garda and Weymouth has been with an excellent group of training partners including Aussie sailors Tom Burton and Ryan Palk and sometimes with eight times Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt.
'Tom feels very comfortable in the Weymouth conditions and in the Village with his usual competition housemates. Plenty of gym work and cycling sees him at peak fitness,' said Conde. 'The breeze has been very light this week but Thursday provided a great opportunity to test the Olympic equipment in hiking conditions.'
The first two Laser races will be held on Monday 30 July with the medal race to be contested on Monday 6 August.
Australian Sailing Team website