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Rechichi optimistic for golden return

17 July 2012

Touching down in London after a week charging her batteries in Perth, 470 sailor Elise Rechichi is primed to defend her gold medal at the Olympic regatta venue in Weymouth.

Rechichi has the opportunity to make history in London as the first Australian Olympian to win back-to-back gold medals in sailing – a mission she shares with teammate Malcolm Page who also won gold in the 470 in Beijing.

Leading into Beijing, Rechichi and her partner Tessa Parkinson did not have the ideal preparation, with Rechichi suffering a serious illness that required nearly 10 months recovery. Her road to London has been no easier.

“Looking back at Beijing, the preparation seems amazing now by comparison,” Rechichi said. “We have really had a tough last few months.”

Teaming up with Sydney gold medallist Belinda Stowell just nine months before the Games, the pair made huge grounds, qualifying the quota place for Australia after just a couple of months together.

“We really built some momentum at the first World Cup in March and then unfortunately Belinda hurt her back which threw a bit of a spanner in the works, Rechichi explained. “But injury is part and parcel with any athletes preparations, any team’s preparations.”

With such a limited time leading into London, the injury was a major setback to the duo who needed all the time they could get to return to gold-medal winning form.

“Time on the water was always going to be more critical for us than other teams. But we have managed to have a really strong training camp here for the last six weeks prior to going home and it was really good to just get some solid consistent days of training under our belt.

“While the days were long and tough they were really quite simple – we did the same thing every day which is really what we needed. I think we left here in a really good place. It’s the Olympics, anything can happen and I think all of us are in a good headspace so we’ll see what happens.”

Instead of dwelling on the tough road the pair have been dealt for their London campaign, Rechichi is displaying nothing but optimism.

“Having a tough road in, in some respects, serves you well come the Games time because that adversity and the obstacles that you have overcome help you keep a perspective on things when you are actually racing.

“There is a lot of stress and anxiety and pressure, and how you manage under that pressure and how you actually implement what you are trained to do under pressure is the defining and differential factor so having the hurdles to overcome to begin with is not necessarily a bad thing and we will now go in knowing what’s been is been and now it is just a case of racing and getting the job done.”

Women’s 470 sailing kicks off in Weymouth on 2 August.

Alice Wheeler
AOC

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