Road to 2012: Aiming High

Uploaded by natportraitgallery on 20.07.2012

When I first heard it was going to be in London I was two years in the sport. It was pretty
exciting it was in London‚ there was big hype‚ there was a big ceremony in Trafalgar
Square. And it seemed so far away and now seven years down I'm like, 'Man, it's on my
front door!'
After Beijing a lot of people said, 'are you going to carry on?' and my immediate reaction
was, 'no, it's far to long away, four years. I'm not going to be able to continue training.'
I'm just lucky that I've got a good relationship with Amanda that's enabled me to do that.
But there's still one dream I’m chasing and I'd love to finish my career with an Olympic
The challenges of the Games are both daunting and exciting, in the same breath. Not many
people have been involved in an Olympic Games before, so everything is new and fresh and
we're doing things we've never done before.
I've been training now for about three years and, you know, you have competitions – smaller
ones, domestic‚ a well as international competitions like the 'Worlds'– but you're
still going for the Paralympics.
When I'm in the arena, there's nothing else there except for my commander's voice, which
is Amber's voice, the horse, me and the edges of the arena.
You don't do it alone. If you haven't got a team and aren't part of a team, you wouldn't
do it.
Being in Weymouth and Portland, I suppose should give you an advantage. You get to learn
more about the conditions, we have rapport with all of our local sailmakers, the people
who built little bits for our boats and electricians, and that kind of thing.
There's support staff in every area you can think of really: fitness, strength, physio,
rules, weather.
During Games-time we will feed about fourteen million people. On the busiest day in the
Athletes's Village, we will serve 65,000 meals. We'll have about 22,000 contractors working
for us during Games-time and we will take away probably about 9,000 tons of waste from
the Games. We are putting on twenty-six world championships simultaneously. If you look
at the World Cup, there's 750 athletes that take part in a world cup. We have 17,500.
The key people who support us are definitely our physios. They know us inside out. You don't
want to see them, because when you're not seeing them you know you're fit and healthy.
We've got a set of tough coaches that push you on, that pick you up when you need to
be picked up.
You can see in training that everyone's pushing‚ because everyone's trying to go to the Olympics.
I'll be nineteen at the time, so to win Olympic gold there, in your home town, would just
be amazing.
Music's always been a fundamental part of the Olympics Games, particularly the modern
Olympics. The arts, in the whole, have actually run as a parallel festival and a parallel
competition actually.
Particularly in the early twentieth century, it was actually a major competition, for instance
for composers.
Had I been around then, I would have been frantically composing a symphony to enter
for an Olympic Medal‚ which seems quite extraordinary‚ I suppose at the same time
we were rewarding medals, at the first London Olympics, for sheep-shearing and jumping through
hoops and rolling barrels; so you know, it's evolved.
At the end of the day, the Paralympics are a celebration of sport, and so, to have everybody
in that, is really going to be an amazing opportunity for us.
Obviously it’s a big privilege to represent our country on home waters.
It is just another competition and that's how we've got to deal with it. We're lucky
enough that it is just another Olympics‚ it will be Beth's third, the deal is to get
them all there.
I think we've probably got the strongest team in the world, I think we've the strongest
team we've every put forward to an olympiad.
If someone asks you to compete for your country and race in an Olympics, then that's just
an amazing opportunity.
I really, really want to do it. Not just because it would be my fifth consecutive, but because
it's London and it's at Greenwich.
It's a very exciting prospect to put in this level of change in a city like this. We've
put real money into transport services that will, not only serve the Games, but actually
be the way in which the area regenerates afterwards.
For me, it's the challenge ... Could I, Jan Matthews, put on and lead the world's largest
catering peacetime operation? You know, I'll know on the sixteenth of September.
We've been at the top for so long now, we've all got to stay at the top, and I don't ever
want to be on the team that's knocked off.