Claiming your country's first ever Olympic medal could turn a life upside down with new found fame and glory, but not for Cyprus' Pavlos Kontides. The Cypriot sailor made all the headlines in his country during London 2012 as he sailed fearlessly to a well-deserved silver medal.
Making the front pages in his home-nation, pushing sailing into the limelight and turning into a national treasure it would have been easy for Kontides to get carried away but with steely determination and eyes firmly on the prize he's back to basics, starting at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.
'London 2012 was really amazing,' said Kontides. 'I would say the only major thing that has changed in my life now is now that people know me back home. My habits remain the same. I don't want to change because I know how I got there and I will keep up the same hard work and motivation. The formula of success shouldn't change; it should just be adjusted and finely tuned.'
Kontides' success didn't happen overnight. As a 14-year-old he made his first appearance on the international scene at the 2004 ISAF Youth Worlds with support of the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme. Appearances at the 2005 and 2006 followed culminating in victories at the 2007 and 2008 ISAF Youth Worlds.
He made his first Olympic appearance at Beijing 2008 finishing 13th before four years of hard work to reach the heights of London 2012.
Back in business in Hyères and aiming for Rio Kontides is feeling his way back into the groove, 'It's been a long time since a major competition. I'm a bit rusty and sustained a small injury ahead of Palma so missed the event, so Hyères is my first big major event and I was not training much but I am getting there and getting used to the boat again.'
Kontides enters the Final Series of racing in Palma 14th overall after two days of light breeze. Big winds on the third day will test not only the Cypriot but the rest of the fleet however the Olympic silver medallist knows what he has to do, 'If you want to be on the top you always have to be on top of your game in all conditions,' said the Cypriot. 'Sailing is a sport where you might be the fastest in the strong or fastest in the light but when the conditions change you can suffer so you have to make sure that you're consistent and always at the top.'
The stronger breeze will mean hiking aplenty for the Laser fleet and Kontides is doing what he can to combat the conditions, 'I am trying to be well hydrated and keep the energy high because now three days of strong wind are coming in the gold fleet which should be tough competition. The conditions are different today and we will see what will be out there.'
But as Kontides confessed he might not have it all his own way, 'Hyères is always one of the biggest events of the season, everybody wants to do well here.'
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