Tom Slingsby may be the Laser world champion and ranked number one in the class for the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships but he won’t be letting the pressure distract him from performing well.
'I’m sort of used to it,' the three-time Laser world champion said. 'For the last few years, each event I’ve gone in to, I have probably been one of the favourites.'
While Slingsby is taking the ‘favourite’ status at Perth 2011 in his stride, being at the top didn’t always sit so well with the 27-year-old Australian.
'Last Olympics I went in as a favourite and I had a shocker,' he said. 'I don’t know what it was, maybe I didn’t deal with the pressure properly.'
As world number one going in to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, many regarded Slingsby as the one to beat. Instead he finished 22nd.
'It’s the worst thing ever when you put every second of every day for eight years into winning a gold medal,' he said.
While the memory of that result still burns for the Australian, Slingsby says he is now better equipped to cope with the pressure.
'Now I notice the markers of something going wrong like nerves,' he said. 'I seem to be able to identify it now, stop it right there and change my process a bit. I’m a lot better under pressure. I think I’ve proven it over the last few years.
'I’ve just got to treat every event as normal and this is no different to any other event I do.'
With the London 2012 Olympic Games less than a year away, Slingsby has his sights set firmly on a gold medal and righting his wrongs from Beijing.
'If I get second, that’s a loss,' he said. 'I look at every event as a win-loss and to me. Second is losing.
'Twenty-second or second isn’t too much different to me, obviously to the eyes of everyone else it is but I’m going to go into this one with the same mentality and hopefully it turns around this time.'
With the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships also serving as a qualifying event for London, Tom Slingsby will be one to watch in the Laser class when it starts racing on Monday 12 December.
Perth 2011 website