Dockside yesterday before the medal ceremony, the 27 year old Australian, five times Laser World Champion and now Olympic Gold medallist, talked through his day.
‘It is an amazing feeling. I have worked so hard for so long now. Last time (Beijing 2008) I put in so much hard work and came away with nothing and this time I put in so much more work and finally I am going home and I know that all the sacrifice I have made over the years wasn't for nothing. This time I have an Olympic Gold medal. I have been through the highs and lows of the sport that is for sure.
‘There is an element of redemption. If I didn't do well at this Olympics I would definitely have hung up my sailing shoes.
‘Last time I had won Worlds, World Cups, Europeans, everything going into China and the Olympics was the only thing and coming out of that, knowing it was a four year wait for a chance of redemption was pretty daunting. I am glad I stuck with it and had another crack.
‘This is the best day of my life. Hands down. I am the happiest guy in the world right now.
‘Nathe and Goobs (fellow Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen - 49er series leaders) were there straight away, after I crossed the finish line. I told them to get out there and do their job and we are going to have a drink tonight together.
‘It means just so much more having your friends and family. It would be pretty empty if you came here and you did well but you had no one there to share it with. Tonight at the Cove, our drinking hole, we can all go there and meet and celebrate. It’s just the best feeling knowing they are here to celebrate with me.
'Medal wise, after seeing the girls win in the swimming I thought it is all going to take off from there, but it has all slowed down a bit. I hope this can kick start us. Being an Australian I know we have got fighting spirit and we are all going to fight to the end.'
Asked about the future, possibly in the Finn Tom responded 'I don't know. I think if I had come away without anything I would have stopped the Olympics for sure. Now I have a gold medal I don't know it, is a pretty amazing feeling. It is hard to think I wouldn't do it again.'
On his approach to the race: ‘Before yesterday I was thinking that I might just go and sail my own race but I went out to the Nothe and I watched the Stars and the Finns and I saw how easily you can lose a lead and I saw a gold medal slip through a couple of guys fingers yesterday.
'So I just said to myself 'that's not going to be me and I am not going to give him an inch'. If he could have lost silver I wouldn't have been like that but he had the silver locked away so I was never going to give him a chance.
‘It’s been an interesting week. Last night I did not have a great night’s sleep. I am someone who doesn’t really get too nervous in general but these last few days I haven't been getting much sleep at all.
‘This morning I was definitely nervous. I feel nervous when I am on shore and around the media but as soon as I got out there and with ten minutes to go, I was feeling fine and ready to roll.
‘No as soon as I get out there and get on the race track I have a full routine. I start checking the wind, the course and where I have to be and so I get into that. I forget everything else and am good to go.
‘In 2006 I was leading going into the last race but I had a bad drop and came up against my coach Michael Blackburn (this was before the double points medal race system.). He match raced me off the course and I needed a top ten finish and he could sail his drop. My fifteenth place meant he won the championship.
‘My coach then beat me and now he is helping me win a gold medal - pretty ironic I guess.
‘Today from the start he Cypriot understood how it was going to go down I think and he knew that I was going to be pretty harsh on him.'
How does it feel that now you have doubled Australia’s medal tally and we are almost catching up to the New Zealanders?'
‘I am just really glad and I am a very proud Australian and we have some of the best athletes in the world in my view.
'I might be a bit biased but I think the Golds will come and we will finish strongly and we will get right up to where we are supposed to be.’
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team
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6:37 AM Tue 7 Aug 2012GMT
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