Today was the last day before the start of the Olympics, and it is always an interesting day. You're excited because you want to get started, you want to put all that good training and hard work into practice. You're nervous, but you know that's a good sign, as it’s your body’s way of telling you it is preparing itself for battle, in the first few races and for the forthcoming days of the regatta.
This will have been heightened as competitors watched or walked in the Opening Ceremony, it was awesome to see so many sailors leading their countries into the Olympic arena carrying their country flag. Sailing is really getting recognition on the world stage: Great to see Team GB's Hannah Mills, Santiago Lange from Argentina and Max Salminen of Sweden as flag bearers.
On this last day before competition starts its good to take stock, its often easy to forget that five years in this Olympic cycle (not to mention all the other years of training) of hard work and effort have gone into getting you to this point. Now one can do nothing more on the water to prepare, an athlete must make sure that physically you're well rested and fuelled. Some decide to have today for just rest, but others like Josefin Olsson wanted to feel the water one last time before the off, to feel at one with the environment.
Back on land though and there are final checks of the regatta documentation, (it seems like more regulations are added every Olympics😮💨). Revising your venue call book for the various different race areas, so you focus in on the right things in your prioritising process when racing. Check the forecast and align for that influence, right now it’s changing fast; the next 3 days look to be influenced by the tail end of a typhoon making land fall in the North of Japan. That is most likely to give us North Easterly offshore gradient windy conditions and possibly some rain for the first few days. A far cry from the heat and light sea breezes we have had for the last 10 days.
The last practice will be done tonight as athletes drift off to sleep as they mentally rehearse, revise, refine and visualise the boat handling routines and key reminders of technique, that will help fast track them to selecting the right skill, or decision, at the right time regardless of consequence.
Lastly enjoy the experience, have fun and embrace every moment! In the words of the Olympic family:
Start well, sail fast, stay clear of trouble, Win! Easy huh?
Olympic Coach Swedish Sailing Team Single Handed Female Discipline