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Team Jolly on their Gold Medal win in the 2012 Olympic Regatta

by Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie on 27 Aug 2012
Team Jolly blasting to the finish line on the Weymouth Bay course - 2012 Olympic regatta © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, review their build up and time at Weymouth and Portland for the 2012 Olympic Regatta:

So I am guessing by now most of you have either seen or heard about how our London 2012 Olympic regatta went… but if not… You might like to know that we have managed to come away with the Gold Medal…

And if you know, then we can give you a little of the back-story behind it!

After a greatly needed two-week break at home (staying well away from any boats) we headed back over to Weymouth two weeks before our regatta was due to begin. We started out with a three-day coach run regatta, which was a great last chance to tidy up some of our racing tactics, and get used to the venue again. From there we had a little hick-up, as Jo got a bit sick and spent a few days coughing and spluttering while Polly made the most of the break from sailing and went up to London to march in the Opening ceremony.

Jo soon recovered, and we were back on the water in time to sort out a few last things (by this stage wondering when on earth the regatta was actually going to start – as most classes had already been racing for a few days). So by the time we finally got measured (we were the last boat on the last day of measurement, and the measurers got their beers out to celebrate it being over before we were quite finished), we were just looking forward to getting racing!

This regatta was a little different from most (a) being the Olympic games – which we tried to ignore and (b) we had three days racing followed by a day off, followed by another two days racing, and then another day off before the final medal race. So basically it was the regatta that would never end… it just kept going.

The first three days of racing went pretty well, we didn’t manage to win any races, but we were always there or thereabout. The fleet was staying a lot more bunched up than at any event before, and things could go from good to bad or the reverse far more quickly. It just seemed like everyone was a lot more on edge than a normal event, but we coped well, and came away with a few solid races that set us up for what we termed ‘the harbour series’ (the last four races – two days - of the regatta were all on the flat water harbour course).

We enjoyed the harbour conditions (it is just like a SW breeze off Takapuna) and so the harbour series went rather well, we won the first two races by a large margin, and went into the last day of fleet racing in the lead. We then continued our good form with a second, followed by what we have termed 'our little stuff up of the event'.

For those of you who have followed us for a little while, you may have noticed we seem to like having at least once race that we just completely stuff up. So that was it, an 18th in the last race was not the way we wanted to finish the opening series at all, but even with that stuff up, we still managed to go into the medal race in first place, on equal points with the British, and assured of either the gold or silver medal.

So we were all set for a winner takes all medal race, and after losing the last one of those we were in (back at the World Champs in 2010), we were ready to make this one work for us.

We went into the medal race confident and ready to have some fun, it had been four years of hard work and preparation, and we knew we had done everything we could in the build-up, so it was just time to enjoy it. We had done our prep before the race, and were confident we knew what was happening on the course, so when we were forced to tack out off the start, we were not at all worried, just surprised that the Brits did not stick with us. We had clear air, went fast, and picked the right side of the course correctly to sail away from the fleet, and finish our 2012 Olympic Campaign with a convincing medal race win.

From the moment we crossed the line, it has all been a bit of a whirlwind! We were carried out of the water in our 470 (named Muppet) by the whole of the kiwi Olympic sailing team, which was truly incredible. Later on that evening we received our medals, which was something we will never forget, watching the NZ flag raised, listening to our national anthem…

So we just wanted to take the time to thank you all for the support you have given us over the past four years, it has been amazing receiving all the messages of congratulations over the past two weeks.
Now its time for a bit of a break, as this is the first real time off we have had in four years… So that’s it from us for at least a few months… Until we figure out what to do next!

Thank you
Jo & Polly
Team Jolly

www.teamjollyracing.com or find us on Facebook : Team Jolly

A special thank you to our support team: Nathan Handley, David Slyfield, our wonderful sports psych, everyone at Yachting New Zealand, and the team at High Performance Sport NZ.

And thank you to our suppliers:
Harken, Donaghys, Lynn River and Kaenon.





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