After years of build up the Games have finally come to the UK. Whilst London hosts most of the events, the windsurfing and sailing will take place at Weymouth. The first windsurfing race takes place on Tuesday at midday and Boards will be there providing you with the latest news, results and interviews from the event site.
Britain’s RS:X windsurfers, Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw, get their London 2012 campaigns underway tomorrow (Tuesday 31 July) hoping to replicate their past Olympic podium success.
Both sailors have claimed previous Olympic bronze medals in nail-biting final race showdowns, Dempsey at Athens 2004 and Shaw in Beijing four years ago. Both of these were the first Olympic windsurfing medals won by Britons.
Dempsey, who celebrates his 32nd birthday two days after the London 2012 Sailing Regatta ends heads into his fourth Olympics, while this is Shaw’s second Games. Now the pair hope to make home advantage count on the waters they know so well.
Dempsey, who won the 2009 RS:X World Championship title at Weymouth and Portland, said: “I would like to say I have just done my best, and knowing I’ve done everything possible [to be satisfied], but I think in reality I will struggle if I don’t at least medal, if not win. This is where it’s at and I do feel the pressure more because I expect more from myself in this venue and I think people expect me to do well here.
“I do know the area well but I also know how tricky it is and no matter how well you know the course area, you just don’t get it right every time as it is different every time. As frustrating as that is you have to understand why, and those days are invaluable in training because you don’t want a day like that during the Olympics.
“You never know it all and I know that no matter how hard I train it will be tricky during the Games. You are not going to win the Olympics with a race to spare, it is going to go down to the wire and who is still on the ball after eight days of racing. I’m under no illusions it will be easy. A lot of the areas of my sailing have improved [since Beijing]. I think I’m the best shape of my life so hopefully it should show.”
Shaw added: “I’ll be super happy with a medal. I think it’s going to be tough, the girls are really, really strong but at the same time I’ve got a lot of belief in myself that I can win. It’s just a case of, as I do in training, taking each day and go out there and sail my best. I won’t be disappointed if I don’t get gold but I believe that I can get gold.
“I was a light wind pumping machine in Beijing and now I’m a world class windsurfer able to sail in all winds and compete at the front of the fleet. My coach Dom and I have really been making sure that whatever wind blows we feel we can perform consistently and have that confidence and self-belief. Having that knowledge you can be the best, and having the building blocks in place, is what fuels me each day.”
The two RS:X Men’s races are scheduled to take place first at 12pm and 12.45pm on the Weymouth Bay West course, with the Women scheduled to follow at 2pm and 2.45pm.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August. The RS:X medal races are scheduled for Tuesday 7 August (Men 1pm, Women 2pm).
Follow the British Sailing Team at London 2012 at www.rya.org.uk/london2012 and right here on Boards.