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Rio Olympics - Ain't nothing to it but to do it

by World Sailing on 5 Jul 2016
Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) Silver Medalist in the Finn class - August 5, 2012 - Weymouth, England Richard Gladwell
Sometimes in sport, and in life, you have one of those days where everything goes beyond your wildest dreams.

To get to this point, hard work, hours of practice and full time dedication is required but when it all clicks and it comes together there is no better feeling.

Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen put a robust campaign together for London 2012, with clearly defined processes and goals. Days before the competition started the great Dane had hit each target and minutes before the first race his coach, Kristian Kjaergaard said, 'ain't nothing to it, but to do it.'

'That sort of became the motto of our campaign,' explained Hogh-Christensen, 'because it was just go out and do what we had practiced.

'We had a long checklist going into the Games of things we had to achieve and reach and two days before the Olympics, we looked at the list and it was all green knocks. And therefore I felt as prepared as I could.

'There was nothing I could really do to be more prepared so it was just to go out and do whatever we had practiced and worked on and that started out really well. And almost got to the gold.'

The Danish sailor came out of the blocks flying and on the opening day everything he had been working towards came to fruition, 'I think my best Olympic race was the first race at the Olympics in 2012. I nailed the start, crossed the fleet and pretty much controlled the fleet from there on and that started a great Olympics.

'I actually ended up winning the second race of that day as well so it was probably my best day in sailing ever. It was a fantastic feeling with overwhelming support when I got back in. It was one of those days where everything came together. I hit all the shifts right, I went fast and nailed the starts. It was just perfect.'

Two race wins on the opening day of the Olympic Games, anyone would bite your arm off to take that, but it doesn't always breed success down the road. Just ask Annalise Murphy of Ireland who won the first four Laser Radial races at London 2012 and finished fourth.

After that opening day, Hogh Christensen became embroiled in one of the great all-time battles of the Olympic Games. Titled 'The Great Dane versus Big Ben', Hogh Christensen and Great Britain's Sir Ben Ainslie fought a brutal series of races.

Just as Hogh Christensen thought he'd put some space in-between Ainslie, the British racer hit back and it resulted in a winner take all scenario in the Medal Race with just two points separating the duo.

In an enthralling Medal Race Ainslie pulled in all of his experience to fend off the Dane to become king. Hogh-Christensen was left slumped in his Finn, the onboard camera showing an immediate, live impact as the disappointment hit.

'I think most people thought Ben was a shoo-in,' reflected Hogh Christensen. 'We managed to put together a campaign on a tenth of the budget, in half the time and managed to probably give Ben the biggest run for his money ever.'

Four years on and Hogh Christensen is back and will be on the start line at Rio 2016, doing it all again. He concluded, 'I am just 4 years older, my body is a bit more crooked but I am that more experienced as well.'

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