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Australia's Head Coach speaks out

At the conclusion of the Olympic Sailing Regatta in Athens, Australia's Head Coach reflects on the performance of the Australian sailors.

'Our expectations, of the Australian community and our Olympic team, were very high. These were based not on titles and results of our team or our sailors, but on their talent and extraordinary skills'. Click on the headline above to read Victor's full statement.

We set extremely high standards for our team and everyone put in their all at this event but unfortunately we did not come away with the results that we had hoped for. Of the 11 classes, seven finished in the top 10 but there are no medals this time.

I have asked our sailors and coaches after the Games, 'what would you do differently in your program if you came back in one years time?' and most of them said with confidence 'I would follow the same program.'

They put in 110% effort to be the best in this regatta, but the Sailing Gods were not with us this time.

Within our team we have enormous potential and a great deal of valuable experience. Some will retire after this event and they will be missed from the team, but we hope to take their knowledge, experience and spirit to 2008.

When we set the program after the Sydney 2000 Games, we not only planned for 2004 but also for 2008. We have a strong youth program with a lot of very talented sailors coming through. Our youth team has twice been the best in the world.

We are sure that some of them will bring back our glory in Beijing. We plan to provide a program where this talent will benefit from the experience that our sailors have had at this event.

In the coming weeks we will spend a great deal of time reviewing our strategy and processes for the program to determine how we can improve. This review will include all the sailors and support staff so that all functions of our program are re-evaluated.

We finish this Olympics with mixed emotions. The announcement of Colin Beashel as flag bearer was one of the proudest moments for our sport. With the experience of six Olympics, Colin was a worthy and highly-regarded team leader. At the conclusion of this event, we feel that amongst the sailing team there are some dreams still to be achieved.

Some of our talented sailors were planning to stop after these Games, but now they are full of determination to bring their medals back. This Games not only brought us pain, but it was also a unique experience, and brings new motivation and new drive.

This is not the finish, this is the new start.'

by Victor Kovelenko


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3:33 AM Mon 30 Aug 2004 GMT

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2004 Olympics Athens

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