'Tom Slingby/Australian Sailing team'
Giovanni De Sandre
For the last fifty years most Olympic medals have come to Australia from Swimming, with a scatter of sports including athletics, cycling, equestrian, rowing, shooting and sailing gathering Gold behind the water babies.
Will this be the third Olympiad where Australian sailors step into second place, as they did in 2000 and 2008?
Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and Tom Slingsby are all heading for Weymouth 2012 with the highest expectations. The next 117 days will, we trust, will see them continue their great form.
By the end of the upcoming Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia Mapfre regatta just starting in Palma Spain, we will know if Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell, the 2008 and 2000 470 Womens Gold medal skipper and crew, are progressing as they would wish in their comeback attempt.
Anyone who watched the pair explode away from the committee boat end of the line on port in the Perth 2011 medal race (which they won) will know these golden girls have the talent and skill to stand atop the podium again. With Victor Kovalenko in their corner we know it can happen.
Jessica Crisp will be wearing green and gold come July and we hope too that Brendan Casey, Krystal Weir, Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty will all be sailing for Australia in Weymouth and amongst the medals.
There are great expectations for the Paralympic sailors Daniel Fitzgibbon, Liesl Tesch, Colin Harrison, Stephen Churm, Jonathan Harris and Matt Bugg in the months ahead.
For our stars of the future - Ashley Brunning, Tom Burton, Sam Kivell, Will Ryan, Ryan Palk, Luke Baillie, Nick Brownie, Matthew Crawford, Robert Crawford, Oliver Tweddell, Matthew Wearn, Jared West, Ashley Stoddart and Alex South - we wish them all a great season.
The Palma, Hyeres, Medemblik, Weymouth and Kiel Regattas will have great significance this year for the Australian Sailing Team and the Australian Sailing Squad and Sail-World.com will be covering them in great detail along with the various 2012 Olympic class World championships.
All through the season we will be bringing you and our other 140,000 sailors, regular editions of the Sail-World Olympic newsletters that started before Perth 2011.
Then Sail-World.com will be in Weymouth with a record team of six photographer/journalists to bring you all the action. I trust you know some of the names ...Bob Fisher, Mark Chisnell, David Schmidt, Richard Gladwell, Jeraldine Kennedy and yours truly.
In closing, we wish all the Australian coaches and support teams a great season too.
Last time I interviewed the Medal-maker Victor Kovalenko, I asked him how many days to go to the Olympics and he rattled it off. I said do you have that as an APP on your phone? and he said no, its in my heart!
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
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8:38 PM Sun 1 Apr 2012GMT
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