sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Slingsby stumbled in Qingdao. What Happened?

Slingsby stumbled in Qingdao. What Happened?

'Tom Slingsby, head in hands, just metres from the finish line of race 2 in the Mens Laser'    © Richard Gladwell    Click Here to view large photo

Australia's Laser sailor Tom Slingsby was the gold medal favourite going into the 2008 Olympic regatta. He'd won the last two World Champions and was in winning form. But he had a shocker, finishing 22nd overall. Now Tom talks about what happened and the road ahead.

Slingsby comments ' Since I have returned from the Olympic Games in Beijing I have been asked one question over and over - 'What happened?' The simple answer is 'I don’t know'. If I knew, I would have changed something during the event. I will give you a rundown of my view of the Olympics and what it was like from my perspective.

The Olympics

After arriving in China from our team camp in Hong Kong, we were straight into the Olympic Sailing Village. I began training on 29th July which gave me plenty of time to practise in my allocated boat before my event began on the 12th August.

While I was training before the event started, I had already noticed I was struggling a little for boat speed in practice races. I was very surprised as in the lead-up events I had been very fast in light wind races and with my lighter weight (75-76 kg), why I was having problems?

Arthur and I began working on things to try to get my speed edge back but even now, a month later, I don’t know exactly what the problem was. So when day one of racing arrived, I knew deep down that I was going to have to sail the regatta of my life to keep up with the fast guys.

Basically, the long and short of the regatta was I did not sail well with the boat speed problem. This meant I could not hold lanes, which meant I could not go where I wanted to go, which meant I was forced to take risks, which meant not only was I slow, but I was sailing low percentage strategies.

I finished the event in 22nd place with a best race of an 11th. In the last 33 lead up races prior to the Olympics, I had been top five in 30 races, with a worst result of an 11th!

Post Olympics

To say I was devastated is an understatement. I had put all my energy over the past eight years into achieving one goal – Olympic Gold. To be honest, I had never in all that time even thought of any other result in China. So when I realised that it wasn’t going to happen, it really took me by surprise and emotionally I wasn’t ready for it. I found myself really questioning myself and my whole journey to get to that point.

After the Olympics, I kind of went into hiding for awhile. I just didn’t want to talk about it to anyone, not even family. Even now, writing this, I get emotional when I think of the feelings I had watching the medal race from the break wall and seeing Paul Goodison win the Gold Medal. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Since the games I have heard a lot of reasons from others 'why I didn’t win'. The bottom line is that I was unable to cope with the tricky conditions that China put on. To succeed, I needed to have all bases covered but, as anyone who has sailed in tight one-design racing knows, without boat speed your options are severely limited. The conditions in China were the toughest I have ever sailed in and I give full credit to Paul Goodison for mastering them, sailing an amazing regatta and winning the Gold Medal, which he truly deserved.

I would like to also congratulate our Aussie Sailing medallists. You guys all deserve your wonderful achievements and will be great role models to the future generations.

The Future

After the games had finished, I didn’t want to even think about what now lay in the future for me. I had always thought that after I won the Gold Medal that I would change classes and try to win Gold in 2012 in another class. Since this plan has been sidetracked, I was always answering questions about my future with 'I’ll take time off and think about it'.

After we returned home we went straight up to the beautiful Hamilton Island. We attended a sponsors and patrons dinner to talk about our Olympic experience and to congratulate the team. During the dinner, Simon McKeon made a speech congratulating the team, not only the winners, but the whole team. At the end, he made mention of me, saying for me not to be down and to keep my head up because he and everyone believed that I am so much better than my result, and that 2012 will be a different story.

I’m not sure whether it was Simon’s kind words, the spirit of the night, or the several red wines in good company and comfortable surroundings, but after all the speeches were done, I decided to make an impromptu speech and announce that I had just decided that I will campaign in the Laser class the 2012 Olympics in London. 'I am better than my result in China and I will do everything in my power to bring home Gold for myself and for Australia in four years time'.

Tom Slingsby - 2007 and 2008 Laser World Champion has set his sites on London 2012 -  Sail-World.com -AUS?nid=49163 ©   Click Here to view large photo



However, all that said, I do need a good break from Laser sailing. Lasers over the next year will play a back seat role and I would like to get more involved in the world of yacht racing. I have been racing Sydney 38’s and Farr 40’s over the past few years, but that was secondary to my Laser sailing. I now look forward to putting it first for a while amongst a few other projects I have in mind.

Thanks

I would firstly like to thank my family for all their support over the years, for believing in my dream of a Gold Medal. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out this time but the dream and desire is still there and I can proudly say it will be a different story in four years.

I would like to thank my second family, the Australian Sailing Team, the athletes, support staff and management. Thank you so much for supporting me through the tough times in China. I’ve made some life-long friends.

Thank you to the AST sponsors, Hamo Island and the Oatley family, Audi Australia, Aus Sports Commission, AIS, Gill and the gang at Ronstan, to the AST patrons, and to my personal sponsors, Nelson Bay Laser Sales, Performance Sailcraft Australia, Kaenon, Vodaphone and Visa. I look forward to a wonderful future with you. To my agent, Geoff Jones, thanks for your help.

To everyone who has helped me over the years, whether it was telling me to pull more mainsheet as an 8 year old in Sabots at Gosford Sailing Club, Fletch kicking me out of training sessions telling me to come back when 'you learn how to f**kin’ start' (it worked!), the staff at YA who are always there to help me when I mess up container issues or miss flights - a big thank you to all of you!

And lastly (but certainly not ...…), to my coach and great mate Arthur Brett. Firstly, congrats on your marriage to the beautiful Belinda Stowell! Your help and guidance over the last five years is greatly appreciated. We have been through a lot together and I can honestly say I would not be where I am today in sailing without you. You have truly changed my life for the better. Thank you.

In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote I read in a book about Mick Fanning, World Surfing Champion, who I admire:
'Sometimes, when a man embarks on a mission, he can become impossible to stop'.

Bring on 2012!




by Tom Slingsby

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=49163

8:03 PM Wed 24 Sep 2008 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2008 Olympics Qingdao

Related News Stories:

22 Oct 2013  Another week of the PSA New Laser and Rig Deal
15 Oct 2013  Great Laser boat and rig deal for the next two weeks
29 Sep 2013  Laser World Championships - Star studded entries confirmed
10 Aug 2013  Now more news on the foiling Laser
22 Feb 2013  Western Australia Laser Dinghy Championship 2013 - Crowded competition
14 Feb 2013  NB Sailsports and PSA End of Season Sale 23 / 24 Feb
23 Dec 2012  Laser Nationals 2012 - World’s No 1 heads fleet in Hobart
03 Jul 2012  Laser Radial Youth Championships Day 4 - The battles continue
02 Jul 2012  Laser Radial Youth World Championships 2012 – Day 3
30 Jun 2012  Laser Radial Youth Worlds 2012 day 2 - Not enough knots
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

Team GBR’s Sparky on the Road to Rio (Part Two) *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,


Team GBR’s Sparky on the Road to Rio (Part Two) by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,
















Team GBR on the Road to Rio (Part One) by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,
















































ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Sailors tweet about opening day
49er Blog: Glorious racing to kick start Hyeres World Cup
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Continuous close racing
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Fluttering flags whet sailors appetite
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Race 4 images by Jude Robertson
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Day 1
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Day 1 Nacra 17 images by Thom Touw
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Day 1 Laser images by Thom Touw
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres: Ioannis Mitakis leads Finns after day 1
RC44 Cascais Cup - Fresh faces join the line-up
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Excellent racing on opening day
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Images by Yvan Zedda and Franck Socha
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Day 1 images by Franck Socha
Hyeres World Cup: Kiwis lead but Outteridge Jensen back in 49er fray
Belcher and Ryan lead from the start in Hyeres
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Race day 1 ready for lift off
Clipper Round the World Race 11 - Tense match downwind racing on Day 2
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Day 3 an absolute gem
Quantum Key West 2015 dates confirmed
Flying Tigers 'Psych' - on Lake Lanier they pronounce it Zhik
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres: Anticipation intensifies as start nears   
Clipper Round the World Race - Race 11 start images by Chuck Lantz   
27th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014 - Big breeze on the butterfly   
Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - Pryde and Joy for Hi Fi   
Clipper Round The World Race - A flying start on Day 1 of Race 11   
Cammas on Caudrelier – different styles, same objective   
Clipper Race - Californian crew member continues fundraising journey   
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Race 2 images by Jude Robertson   
Les Voiles de St Barth - Images by Christophe Jouany   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Fleet sets sail in race 11   
Congressional Cup - Canfield and Team US One best star-studded field   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Race 11 to get underway to Panama   
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Race 1 images by Jude Robertson   
Rolex China Sea Race - Hi Fi collects the coveted IRC Overall title   
Rolex China Sea Race - First arrivals in Subic Bay   
Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - a sniff of a hat-trick for Neil Pryde   
America's Cup Book Review: Winging It - Oracle Team USA's comeback *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: Switzerland drops trou for charity   
Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - nip and tuck for IRC honours   
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - 27th edition underway   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL NEW US